What would you do if you were the luckiest person on the planet? You could literally throw yourself off a cliff and by some ridiculous happenstance a gorgeous member of the opposite sex with a parachute would fall right alongside you, catch you, and bring you to a feather soft landing. Would you use your powers for the good of others around you or would you spend each day basking selfishly in your uncanny good fortune?
Ashley Albright (Lindsay Lohan) faces that question everyday and finds it simple enough to answer. On the rainiest of mornings she steps out of her fancy New York apartment building and the clouds immediately give way to balmy sunshine. The doorman, who hasn’t been able to hail a cab all morning, finds them lining up for Miss Albright. She’s never scratched a lottery ticket she didn’t win and when she has nothing to wear, Sarah Jessica Parker’s perfect fit designer dry cleaning accidentally gets delivered to her apartment.
Of course, there must be balance in the universe, and Jake Hardin (Chris Pine) is the sort whose bad luck evens out Ashley’s good. He always steps in the deepest possible puddle when crossing the street and the one time he finds five bucks in a trash can it turns out to be coated in puppy poop, discarded by a wealthy dog walker who was hurriedly trying to avoid a littering fine. Even though he’s never caught a single break in his life, he’s still the nicest, most thoughtful person you could ever expect to meet. Not that you would want to be near him; he’s always wet and smelling faintly of canine feces.
The universal laws of fate and physics make no exception for luck. Jake and Ashley are perfect opposites and therefore destined to attract and smash together. The great collision happens on the night Ashley’s lucky new career as a marketing executive hangs in the balance. Her firm’s biggest client, music mogul Damon Phillips (Faizon Love), is launching a new campaign and Ashley is responsible for planning and perfecting the A-list masquerade kick off party. Jake is the manager for a Euro-pop band named McFly (played by the actual Euro-pop band McFly) and up till now the biggest gig he’s been able to land them is the bowling alley where he works as a janitor. He’s desperate to get their demo into Philip’s hands and he’s willing to crash the party as one of the professional dancers to make it happen. With the two crazy kids in such close proximity, destiny steps in, the couple wind up dancing together and sharing a very ill fated kiss.
Two days later Jake and McFly are at the top of the music industry food chain while Ashley can’t help but break anything fragile within a thirty foot radius. With help from a psychic, Ashley concludes the kiss is to blame for the bizarre swap of fortune. Armed with the headshot of every dancer at the party and some scratcher lottery tickets for litmus tests, she and her friends set out on a hopeless city wide kissing crusade to get her luck back.
Though their luck is switched, they can’t fight fate or physics. Still perfect opposites, Jake and Ashley’s paths are destined to continue crossing, only this time Ashley is well aware that the kiss is responsible for swapping their luckiness factor. As the cosmic game of mojo ping pong rages Ashley faces the question of whether or not she uses the good fortune with the same philanthropic ideals as Jake. Naturally, with all that kissing, attraction of another kind is bound to set in as well.
Lindsay Lohan has desperately been trying to distance herself from the kinds of teeny bopper roles her youthful career was built upon. Try as she might to land a film where she can show off her real acting chops, the efforts just seem to keep backfiring. This movie is the perfect example of Lohan’s real life bad luck in that department.
Just My Luck has the feel of a film that, in some earlier manifestation, might have been a fun Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan type romantic comedy. That’s easy enough to understand when you consider the screenplay was penned by two women, one who wrote for “Sex and the City” and the other the writer of the popular chick flick Now and Then. Perhaps that’s what attracted Lohan to the part. Where the script went wrong becomes painfully clear when you see who else is credited as having tinkered with the story: three guys who wrote Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and Max Keeble’s Big Movie. Like I said, Lindsay just can’t seem to catch a break.
The movie may be cute, spattered with entertaining humor and touching chick flick tenderness, but everything that might have made it a quality romantic comedy has been tainted by ridiculous teen marketing. As if it weren’t bad enough that the romance between Ashley and Jake is reduced the level of a Hillary Duff vehicle, the rest of the movie is a shameless promotion for the real life band McFly. Couldn’t they at least have used a good group for crying out loud?
The cast get high marks for doing their best with what they’re given. Lohan and Pine have a nice chemistry when they’re allowed to show it and the supporting players manage to keep their characters somewhat real in the face of ludicrous setups and cringe-worthy dialogue. Their performances and the physical comedy keep the movie afloat, but it’s not enough elevate the story to something audiences over the age of 18 could embrace as entertainment.