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Just My Luck (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

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There are so many outrageous developments, contrivances, coincidences, and outright inanity that the central conceit—that luck can be passed by a kiss—becomes the simplest suspension of disbelief.

 

Lindsay Lohan’s latest outing, Just My Luck, casts her as the luckiest girl in the world who is forced to learn to cope when the fates reverse her fortune and she becomes a lightning rod for mishaps and misadventures. To retrieve her luck, she must find the anonymous guy she kissed during a masquerade ball. As her charmed life spirals out of control, plucky Lohan takes the worst job in the city, conquering all challenges that arise, and of course learning invaluable lessons about hard work and self-reliance.

The plot is a ridiculous excuse for one slapstick gag after another. The heavy-handed tone would make the cast of Saved by the Bell balk. The dialogue is a series of forced, unfunny quips rejected from a Sex and the City script; screenwriter Amy Harris actually wrote for the Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle for three seasons. Harris and her fellow scribes fill the characters’ mouths with the signature only-on-television type of dialogue that was tedious by the middle of the second season, but here, is even more out of place and even less artfully delivered. Of course, the asinine plot draws most of the attention away from the idiotic dialogue. There are so many outrageous developments, contrivances, coincidences, and outright inanity that the central conceit—that luck can be passed by a kiss—becomes the simplest suspension of disbelief.

This is a movie based solely around dropping a young, hip star into embarrassing situations designed to make Larry David cringe, but knowing all along that her can-do attitude, good heart, and big smile will triumph in the end. This type of film is aimed at pre-teen girls that find the drama of Harlequin Romance novels compelling, but here the aim is so low only the dumbest portion of that less-than-discerning demographic will be moved. Lohan’s charisma is watchable, but even her charms cannot save a movie so dumb it makes Herbie Fully Loaded look like Memento.

Hopefully, Lohan—who has made good choices in the past (Mean Girls)—will fare better with her slate of upcoming independent and edgier fare. Even the lowbrow humor falls flat in this Lifetime movie/after-school-special leftover. There are a handful of laughs at best, with nothing funnier than a bad episode of Yes, Dear can deliver. The only redeeming feature is the visual texture. The cinematography, while not groundbreaking, is wonderful and it is paired with stunning art direction. It is also interesting to see how much more attractive Lohan is as the unlucky girl working as a janitor wearing sweats, jeans, and bowling shirts, than as the sophisticated, overdone, couture junior executive.

In the single most ridiculous plot inconsistency since George Lucas attempted to convince the world that Uncle Owen would forget the galaxy’s most personable droids and shun the local Jedi master when the Empire and his evil brother—Darth Vader—show up looking for Luke in a city of approximately 170 billion people, Lohan’s character, who is supposed to be the unluckiest girl in the world, unknowingly stumbles across and befriends the one guy that can change her luck and reverse her fate with a kiss—twice in a single week. Apparently, Mayberry substituted for New York City in the landscape of this film.

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