Dir: Donald Petrie. US.2006. 103mins.
Apparently designed to help teen queen Lindsay Lohan, Just My Luck ends up feeling like a teenromantic comedy not very convincingly dressed in adult clothes. Lohan's existing fan-base may still respond to the mix oflifestyle aspiration and fairy-tale romance, and the appearance of real-lifepop-rock group McFly will broaden the appeal alittle. But worldwide distributor Fox will be very lucky to get a significantnumber of twentysomething or older moviegoers in forthis resolutely perky and substantially silly junior rom-com.
The Regency Enterprisesproduction opens this weekend in North America, as PG-13-rated counter-programmingto two more male-skewing wide releases (Poseidonand Goal!). Lohanfans could give the film a decent start at the box office but very stiffearly-summer competition suggests that the final domestic take might not matchthe $66m earned last summer by the star's Herbie: Fully Loaded, never mind the $86m made in 2004 by Mean Girls.
Lohan is a less powerful draw outside the US, so thefilm's fortunes during its June/July international rollout are even lesscertain. McFly - whose records have topped the Britishpop charts several times over the past two years - will be a considerable helpin the UK and in other territories where the group is known.
Screenplay co-writer Amy BHarris was previously a writer-producer on SexAnd The City and there are touches of that HBOshow's tone and milieu in early scenes of Lohan'sAshley Albright breezing through her charmed life as an account executive at aNew York PR firm.
Parallel scenes showing JakeHardin (Pine, from the Princess Diariessequel) struggling through his luckless life as a janitor and would-be rockgroup manager have a much broader comic tone.
The fairy tale element -with echoes of The Prince And The Pauper and Cinderella,as well as Lohan's 2003 hit Freaky Friday - comes in when Ashley and Jake meet at a party andshare a brief dance floor snog. After the lip-lock,Jake's life suddenly takes off and Ashley's begins to crumble. Ashley sets outon a quest to find her anonymous dance partner and reclaim her luck by kissingJake once again.
Director Donald Petrie is adab hand at lightweight, female-led romantic comedies (his credits include Mystic Pizza, Miss Congeniality and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days) but even he can't sell thefar-fetched central conceit. And the comedy that surrounds the conceit is toobroad and unoriginal to either distract or compensate.
Lohan certainly looks striking in her carefully designedcostumes, and she doesn't hold back when it comes to the slapstick comedy thataccompanies Ashley's fall from grace. But upcoming releases such as A Prairie Home Companion and Bobby will reveal much more about herpotential as an adult star than this performance. Pine makes an adequatelyloveable male lead but his character is completely overshadowed by Lohan's.
McFly appears (under its real name) as the struggling band that Jake hopes he can manage all the way to the top.The five members perform several of their catchy Beach Boy/Beatle-influencedsongs on screen and do some endearingly shaky acting. Though the band has yetto break in the US, the movie could get a cross-promotional boost from McFly's recently released first American album, also calledJust My Luck.
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Joe Caracciolo, Jr
I Marlene King
Amy B Harris