Are we done eviscerating Tom Cruise? Let’s move on to the next strangely personal star vehicle, one with the benefit of a celebrity who’s willingly self-deprecating—and has better chops to boot.
Lindsay Lohan’s Ashley has the perfect life. In the strawberry-mojito universe of Just My Luck’s NYC, this means she’s a chatty publicist blessed with a steady stream of chick lit’s more clichd pleasures: Vacant cabs screech to a halt; Sarah Jessica Parker’s couture arrives mistakenly at her door. She’s literally the life of the party, wafting through private lounges. At one such roped-off affair, flecks of white confetti fall from the ceiling. Ashley leans in for a kiss from Jake (Pine), a luckless infiltrator who’s somehow managed to charm her. Suddenly, with the sad collapse of a Manolo heel, roles are reversed, and all bets are off.
Though clearly a lesser product than Lohan’s similar switcheroo Freaky Friday, Just My Luck works unexpectedly well, in a giddy, highly lacquered Doris Day manner. Morbid trainspotters may be hoping for Lohan’s real-life derailment; here’s the next best thing, a fantasy version in which hairdryers explode, jobs are lost, and she’s reduced to cleaning toilets in a bowling alley. None of this would fly without the 19-year-old actor’s knowing wink, and this is actually Lohan’s strength: As a comedian, she’s always been daringly klutzy and unpretentious. Her transition to adult fare is imminent; thankfully, she’s left behind the definitive document of, if not her peak talent, then the swirl of schadenfreude, cattiness and expectation that now surrounds her. (Now playing; click here for venues.)—Joshua Rothkopf