Just My Luck [DVD]
Director : Donald Petrie
Screenplay : I. Marlene King and Amy B. Harris (story by Jonathan Bernstein & Mark Blackwell & James Greer and I. Marlene King)
MPAA Rating : PG-13
Year of Release : 2006
Stars : Lindsay Lohan (Ashley Albright), Chris Pine (Jake Hardin), Faizon Love (Damon Phillips), Missi Pyle (Peggy Braden), Makenzie Vega (Caty), Tom Fletcher (Himself), Danny Jones (Himself), Harry Judd (Himself), Dougie Poynter (Himself), Samaire Armstrong (Maggie), Bree Turner (Dana), Carlos Ponce (Antonio), Tovah Feldshuh (Madame Z)
Just My Luck is a riff on body-switch comedies, except this time it's not entire souls that swap corporeality--just one's luck. The movie skates along on the brittle-thin premise that some people are lucky and others are not, and if those people happen to kiss, they can swap fortunes (at the convenience of plot, of course). It's a hokey high concept, and one that isn't entirely devoid of bubbly promise, but Just My Luck never builds any momentum in the narrative department or chemistry in its romance.
If one were to be a true cynic, one could see the movie as little more than a brief ride for star Lindsay Lohan as she upgrades from teen movies to adult fare, which is arguably the movie's primary weakness because it falls uncomfortably between those two zones. It's too giddy and fawning to be taken seriously by adults, even as a fantastical romantic comedy; on the other hand, it doesn't have adolescent characters for the under-18 audience to identify with. Although Lohan was 19 when the movie was shot, she is intended to play a career woman in her early 20s, albeit one who unintentionally looks like a high schooler playing dress-up in Macy's.
Lohan stars as Ashley Albright, an incredibly lucky Manhattan career gal. How lucky is she? When she forgets to bring an umbrella, it immediately stops raining and the sun comes out. When she needs a taxi, one is always there. She always wins something on scratch-off lottery tickets. And, when faced with an imminent dilemma at the public relations firm where she works, not only does she land the big client (in this case, a music mogul played by Faizon Love), but she also gets promoted and given a corporate credit card. Nothing can go wrong.
Something does go wrong, though, when she makes the mistake of kissing Jake Hardin (Chris Pine, who looks like a slightly nerdy, younger cousin of Rob Lowe). Jake is Ashley's polar opposite on the luck spectrum. A struggling wannabe music producer who works at a bowling alley, he's a walking accident who leaves disaster in his wake. Yet, when he and Ashley kiss, they mysteriously swap luck so that suddenly everything is working for him and Ashley's life falls apart.
Having starred in both Disney's 2003 remake of Freaky Friday and the smarter-than-you-think-it-is teen comedy Means Girls (2004), Lohan has already proved that she has comedic chops and isn't above embarrassing pratfalls and slapstick. For the first third of Just My Luck, when everything is going Ashley's way, she is borderline insufferable with her chipper glee and self-satisfied glow. But, once things take a turn for the darker, Lohan comes alive, bearing the brunt of splashing taxi cabs, an exploding halogen light bulb, a hair-eating blow-dryer, and even an enormous pile of gooey mud that is supposed to pass for high art. Lohan wears humiliation well, especially when she's thrown in jail, but it's hardly enough to support the movie's strained premise. It doesn't help either than she and Pine have virtually no chemistry together, so there is little urgency in getting them together.
Director Donald Petrie has worked the rom-com beat before with movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), but here he feels stranded. There is a dim attempt to attain some level of Sex and the City-ish faux sophistication (possibly because one of the credited screenwriters was a production associate on that show), but the movie never elevates above a starry-childish view of New York as a consumerist Mecca and media jobs as glamorous thrill rides that mostly involve organizing grand parties. (Speaking of Sex and the City, there is a brief subplot involving one of Sarah Jessica Parker's dresses being delivered to the wrong address, which smacks of pointless name-dropping and also begs the question of how the movie's young heroine could possibly hope to share an address with a successful movie actress.)
When Just My Luck musters energy, it's expended in all the wrong places, particularly a drawn-out subplot involving Jake's producing a neo-British Invasion pop quartet played by real-life members of the British pop band McFly (yes, they are named after Michael J. Fox's character in Back to the Future). It's a hammy and ridiculously overwrought case of product placement (alongside the Hard Rock Cafe, Dolce & Gabbana, Blackberry, and several others) that extends the movie a good 15 minutes longer than it should be. If McFly is going to break through stateside like they have done in the U.K., they need to find a better vehicle.
|Just My Luck DVD|
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 / 1.33:1|
|Distributor||20th Century Fox Home Entertainment|
|Release Date||August 22, 2006|
|VIDEO AND AUDIO|
|Just My Luck is presented in both an anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an open-matte transfer (each transfer is housed on one side of a flipper disc). The anamorphic widescreen transfer is clear and sharp, with good color and detail. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack nicely showcases McFly's pop songs, which play a large role throughout the movie.|
|Given the fact that Just My Luck didn't do very well during its theatrical release, it's not surprising that the supplements are pretty slight. Fans of McFly will enjoy the 9-minute featurette about the filming of their climactic concert at the Hard Rock in Times Square. There is also a brief, two-minute featurette titled "Look of Luck" that focuses on the movie's fashion and costume design. Other than that, there are three deleted/extended scenes in nonanamorphic widescreen.|
Copyright ©2006 James Kendrick
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