It seems like when it comes to critics and fans alike, there are two schools of thought when it comes to Lindsay Lohan. One, that she really can act, but her acting abilities have unfortunately been overshadowed by her tumultuous personal life; and two, that she’s nothing but a talentless slag. I probably don’t need to tell you that my opinion falls squarely in the latter. You may disagree, and I’m sure some of you will, but she plays the same emphysema-voiced version of herself in every damn role she’s cast in, so much so that I can’t even tell when she’s phoning it in anymore. In fact, at this point, it seems like the best dramatic performance I’ve seen from Lindsay Lohan is screaming bloody murder outside of the home of girlfriend Samantha Ronson at 5 a.m., much to the delight of the awaiting vultures with TMZ and X17 Online. It’s probably at least partially for these reasons that Labor Pains — originally slated for theatrical release — was dumped off onto ABC Family and then given a quick and painless DVD release about two weeks later. Not to give Lindsay all the credit, of course, because the asinine script and plot about a girl who fakes being pregnant to save her job surely didn’t hurt, either.
Lindsay stars as Thea Clayhill, although never once do you actually lose yourself in the character enough to believe that it’s anyone else other than Lindsay Lohan. She does however, wear a necklace with her character’s name on it for the entire movie, so I guess that was supposed to be helpful. Lindsay works to support her teenage sister after their parents passed away (I’m assuming that was written in to give the character depth, but since no meaningful exposition is ever provided, it doesn’t) as a secretary to a sadistic boss (Chris Parnell) at a publishing company. Not that I don’t love me some Dr. Spaceman or anything, but Parnell is the same one-note character as the misogynistic “Jerry” as he is in pretty much everything. But whatever. Moving on. Jerry treats all of his employees like crap, but especially Lindsay since she’s his secretary and is therefore is subjected to tasks like washing poop off his hairless Chinese Crested Dog in the lavatory sink. Aside from her cartoonishly evil boss, Lindsay basically gets no respect from anyone in the company. In that regard, the publishing company is kind of like a metaphor for “Hollywood.”
Her only saving grace comes in the form of her office friend Lisa, played by Cheryl Hines, which is sad because we know from Waitress and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that Cheryl Hines is so much better than this, but she keeps getting cast in these abysmal romcoms and family flicks anyway. Also, it’s kind of sad how much Hines really doesn’t look that much older than Lohan despite a 20 plus age difference between the two women; and that’s not so much a testimony to Cheryl Hines youthful glow, either. At any rate, after Jerry overhears Lindsay bitching about him to Cheryl he drags her into his office and makes with the merciless firing, at which point she comes up with the brilliant idea — out of nowhere, mind you — to pretend that she’s pregnant to save her job. And of course it works, because you can’t fire a pregnant woman. It’s the law, look it up.
The pregnancy is a blessing, because after Cheryl throws in that Lindsay is also engaged to her loser boyfriend and alleged babydaddy, Miles, (Aaron Yoo) the office suddenly respects her since before they all just assumed she was some “wayward skank.” (The movie’s words, not mine.) Not long after, at a company softball game, their star writer (Creed Bratton, who adds only the tiniest bit of joy to the movie) croaks on top of Jerry’s precious dog. The dog needs extensive therapy for its injuries, which gives Chris Parnell a reason to get out of the movie long enough to promote the hunky company accountant, Nick (Luke Kirby), to head the entire publishing division. I don’t know why a lowly accountant would be chosen to run a publishing company either, but I guess that’s why this movie is stupid. His first order of business is to sign an author who just happens to be writing a book about pregnancy, and naturally he promotes Lindsay from lowly secretary to associate editor so she can help him with it, which in turn skyrockets her stature in the company. And that’s why you don’t put an accountant in charge of your publishing company. Of course, as Lindsay relies more on her fake pregnancy to ascend the company ladder and win over the affection of Nick, the moral of the film becomes that she didn’t need a fake baby to become successful, and that the “magic” was in her all along. Right, teenage girls watching this? You don’t have to get knocked up out of wedlock to win the respect of your peers, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
On that note, I honestly have no idea who this film is supposed to be targeted to. It’s got the dumbed-down writing and corny jokes of a kids flick, but the content is decidedly adult for a PG movie. The language is clean, but Lindsay drinks and smokes her way through the first half of the movie. At one point she even tells her responsible teenage sister that [she’s] 17, and should be out “drinking and smoking.” That’s a good message, because just look where that literally got the star of this horrible movie. Labor Pains has nothing redeeming about it. It’s boring. It’s stupid. It’s insulting. Oh, and for some reason? Janeane Garofalo inex-fucking-plicably has a small part in it. She looks like she wants to punch herself in the face with a tire iron every time she appears onscreen. I don’t blame her either, because that’s kind of the same way I felt the entire time I was watching it.
Stacey Nosek is the world’s most articulate idiot, and occasionally scrapes the bottom of the television and movie barrel for Pajiba. You can also find her ripping on celebrities at Webster’s Is My Bitch.