This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
Some movies make me feel like I'm someone else. Other movies make me wish I were. Watching "Just My Luck," I wished I were a teenage girl, not for any perverse reason but because then I might have enjoyed it a lot more. I don't think it's for grown-ups, and I don't much think it's for teenage boys. But a teenage girl (even better, a pre-teen) might enjoy a romantic fantasy in which the heroine is old enough to get a top job at a marketing firm and wear Sarah Jessica Parker's clothes, and innocent enough that she has an entire romance based entirely on kissing. It's not only the romance that's kiss-based; so is the plot.
Lindsay Lohan is the star, and I have liked her ever since "The Parent Trap" (1998) and I like her here, too, but like many another former child star, it's time for her to move on to more challenging roles. I am lucky enough to have seen her in Robert Altman's forthcoming "A Prairie Home Companion," and so I know what we have to look forward to. Just our luck that we'll have "Just My Luck" to look back on.
Lohan plays Ashley, a young Manhattan career woman with extraordinary good luck. It stops raining when she steps outside. Paper money sticks to her shoes. She can always get a cab. One day Damon Phillips (Faizon Love), a powerful record mogul, turns up at her office while her boss Peggy Braden (Missi Pyle) is stuck in the elevator. Ashley has taken notes at previous meetings, knows the pitch, and delivers it to keep the mogul from walking out. She wins the contract, gets a new title, a raise and an office, and finds herself producing an extravagant masquerade ball as a promotion.
In a parallel story, we meet Jake (Chris Pine). His luck is always bad. It starts raining when he walks outside. He finds a $5 bill, but it's covered with dog poop. His pants split. He works as a janitor at a bar and bowling alley, where he also runs the sound board and manages a band of young Brits who apparently want to look and sound as much as possible like the Beatles, circa 1964. The movie uses a real band, McFly: "Unlike most boy bands today," the press notes inform us, "McFly write their own songs and play their own instruments." The alternatives are too depressing to contemplate.