Poor Lindsay Lohan.
It’s bad enough that her new romantic comedy, “Just My Luck,” was barely screened in time for critics to review it before opening day. Now that we’ve seen the movie, it turns out she’s not even the star.
That would be the generic British pop band McFly (oddly named for Michael J. Fox’s character in “Back to the Future,” but whatever) for whom “Just My Luck” plays like an infomercial.
These guys are in this thing constantly, singing the same two songs at a bowling alley, at a recording studio, at a sold-out Times Square concert.
In between their myriad performances, each of which sounds just like the last, LL squeezes in opportunities to show off her gifts for timing and physical comedy. Despite what we know about Lohan’s off-screen antics — and by now we know way too much — on-screen, she’s an undeniable, irresistible talent.
That’s why it’s such a disappointment that her first grown-up role is essentially a remake of “Freaky Friday,” the remake of which made her a star in 2003.
Lohan plays Ashley Albright, a confident young Manhattanite with incredibly good luck who magically swaps fortunes with Jake Hardin (Chris Pine), a guy plagued with perennially bad luck, after kissing him on the dance floor at a masquerade ball.
Loud, overblown mishaps ensue.
This should come as no surprise considering the director, Donald Petrie, who previously inflicted upon the unsuspecting moviegoing public other overbearing romantic comedies (“Miss Congeniality,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”) and lame comedies based on TV shows (“Richie Rich,” “My Favorite Martian”). Subtlety is a concept with which he’s apparently unfamiliar.
And for some reason it took five people to come up with the story and screenplay — baffling since it’s pretty simplistic, and as we mentioned earlier, not entirely original.
Ashley’s heel breaks, her dress rips (which is also a shame, since the famous fashionista Lohan gets to drape her frame in fabulous clothes). She repeatedly ends up soaking wet (a cab splashes her, she gets caught in the rain). She loses her job, she gets arrested, she gets beat up in jail.
It is extreme and, eventually, redundant how awful things get for her. Worse yet, none of the gags is funny. But she is a tad more likable, though, in her miserably unlucky state. When everything was going her way, she was insufferably perky.
Jake, meanwhile, was the one ripping his clothes and getting splashed by cabs. He used to work as the janitor at a bowling alley, but post-kiss he’s suddenly riding in the back of a chauffeured town car when he signs the band he manages — that’s right, McFly — to an inordinately speedy record deal. (Pine, who resembles a slightly nerdy Rob Lowe, exhibits a bit more substance than the average rom-com hero, a role that’s always secondary to the starlet anyway.)
“Just My Luck” is the worst kind of comedy — one that assumes the audience can’t think for itself, and therefore feels the need to punctuate each sight gag with obnoxiously jaunty music.
That is, when McFly isn’t playing its signature brand of frat-boy rock.