Given that Lindsay Lohan makes more headlines for her DUl arrests than her movies, it’s hard to discuss her performance in Labor Pains—a stillborn, straight-to-cable comedy about a desperate employee who fakes a pregnancy—without pondering some of the externals.
Did LiLo screw up again? Her professional problems surfaced during the filming of 2007’s Georgia Rule, when a studio executive reprimanded her for her partying and perpetual tardiness. Since then, thanks to Lohan’s prohibitive insurance costs, she’s become something of a Hollywood pariah.
Are we missing out on a serious talent, though? Labor Pains, unfortunately, is a piece of deeply unfunny, poorly scripted fluff; even so, the supporting cast makes the best of it, and worse movies have landed theatrical releases. But our leading lady lets it down. When her boss threatens to fire her for being late (ring any bells?), Lohan’s character claims she’s pregnant, because apparently you can’t ax anyone who’s knocked up. That the movie is predicated on a faulty piece of legal reasoning is bad enough. But seeing a faux-pregnant Lohan smoking and downing shots of vodka, while potentially funny, is troubling. Her timing is off. Her facial expression barely changes. She’s just not there.
This is not the remarkable dynamo of Mean Girls, let alone I Know Who Killed Me. When she’s firing on all cylinders, Lohan excels in portraying characters in conflict with themselves. (Remember Freaky Friday?) Still, on this disc’s making-of featurette, everyone gushes about how amazing she was to work with. Lohan may be winning back her costars, but now she needs to work on the studios, and her audience.—Anna King