It’s ironic that the studio release schedules would follow up a movie starring the mainstream media’s favorite whipping-boy (Mr. Cruise) with, arguably, the blogosphere’s favorite female target for scorn and ridicule, 20-year-old Lindsay Lohan, whose coke-fueled antics, sleeping arrangements, and family squabbles have kept many a blog’s traffic flowing on those days that Paris Hilton wasn’t pissing herself, slipping in her own vomit, or getting her stanky on the hang-low of some billionaire offspring. I have to hand it to Lohan, though; perhaps I’ve just been preoccupied with other matters this week, but it seems that she has kept a relatively low-profile, considering that she was set to release her first “adult” movie into theaters this weekend, well … except for an unannounced walk-in on STD swap-mate and hack auteur Brett Ratner and speculation that she’s now dating Ms. Hilton’s former socket-filler Stavro Niarchos.
But all of that is irrelevant and otherwise outside of the purview of a review website, where we are charged with critiquing a performer’s work onscreen with complete disregard to one’s nausea-fueled ass-baring episodes on a nationally televised kids’ award show. And, as to those on-screen matters, Ms. Lohan’s latest, Just My Luck, is the cinematic equivalent of the designated driver to Lohan’s off-screen activities, forced to sit alone at a barstool sipping on a flat ginger ale while her civilian persona gets ripped to the tits, dry humps a chair leg, and passes out in the coat-check room with a random passerby wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan, “My other ride is in your pants.”
Indeed, not to keep playing the same chord here (my God, it’s a beautiful chord, with all the power of a three-note AC/DC rock anthem at last call in a small-town whiskey tavern) but, given the modicum of credibility that Lohan built in the deliciously Heathers-inspired Mean Girls (“That is so fetch!”) and opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday, you’d think she’d take more care when reading her scripts. Here, the only way Lohan could’ve found anything redeeming in a screenplay written by a team of writers formerly responsible for — among other movies — Max Keeble’s Big Move and Larry the [Fucking] Cable Guy: Health Inspector, would’ve been to read the goddamn thing on top of a washing machine while experiencing the euphoria that comes with coke granules bleeding out of your ears while the spin-cycle is doing its magic. Sample bit of dialogue: “Meet me tonight. I’ll be the redhead that looks like this.” And by “this,” presumably Ms. Lohan’s character, Ashley Albright, means: The skank who ditched her adorable baby-fat for skin that is stretched so thin you can actually see her dinner (half-pack Tic Tacs, three pkgs. honey, 4.5 French fries, martini chaser) snake its way through her digestive system.
So: Lindsay Lohan (post-binge/pre-purge, i.e., with breasts) plays Ashley, an administrative assistant for a PR operation. She also happens to have a streak of good luck, herein characterized by scratch-ticket success and the ability to catch a cab, avoid red lights, and find random $5 bills lying on the street; you know, the stuff that really gets you through life. As the movie opens, Ashley’s luck lands her a promotion and the responsibility for planning a masquerade ball for a Disneyfied Biggie-Smalls character (Faizon Love). Meanwhile, Jake (Chris Pine) is the sad-sack extraordinaire who, stealing a page from She’s All That, wears glasses and clothes made of sweat-pant fabric to signify his unluckiness. Jake, unlike Ashley, has a penchant for finding excrement-covered $5 bills and landing his ass in jail because of “Three’s Company”-like mishaps, e.g., having his pants fall down in the middle of Central Park after he trips and falls on an attractive woman. He’s also a janitor at a bowling alley and the manager for a struggling bubble-gum band, McFly, who are supposed to be a cross between the Beatles and Blink-182 but sound more like a cross between Hanson and a homeless guy singing for a second gallon-box of red, red wine.
So, on the night of the masquerade ball, Jake sneaks in as a dancer, mistakenly cavorts with Ashley to avoid the boot, and slips her some tongue on the dance floor, which — as we all know by now — is a popular locale for metaphysical reversals of luck. Here, Jake is the new recipient of Ashley’s kismet, while she gains his misfortune, resulting in a case of Chlamydia and spontaneous silicone explosion, or — more accurately — her heel breaks, her dress rips, and she lands in the hoosegow after she learns that she inadvertently set her boss up with Deuce Bigelow.
And so, in a series of lethargic scenes that borrow heavily from 30 Going on 30, Big, the Hillary Duff oeuvre, “I Love Lucy” and, most prominently, Trading Places, Ashley sets about making out with half of Manhattan in an attempt to regain her karma until she ultimately reconnects with Jake, who by now has risen the ranks of the music industry under the tutelage of the Disneyfied Biggie Smalls, setting up a finale embezzled straight out of the last scene in Can’t Hardly Wait, which speaks volumes about the quality of Just My Luck. All the while, Ms. Lohan — who usually injects at least a flicker of charm to her material — exudes all the magnetism of a 6 a.m. interview with Matt Lauer the night after going on a magic-marker huffing bender and suffering the insults of a group of Ebonics-speaking white guys from MTV’s “Yo Momma.”
So, my advice: Skip the movie, and go straight to the STD; you’ll thank me in the morning.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife in a faux-Marxist college town in upstate, NY. You may email him, or leave a comment below.Where's Beeks? Where in the Hell is Beeks?!
Film Reviews | May 17, 2006 | Comments ()