Revisiting The Rotten: “Just My Luck”

just my luck

Each week in Revisiting The Rotten, Calhoun Kersten look at a movie certified “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes and does his best to give them a second chance.

Well, folks, the time has come. At the tender age of 25, I have hit my journalistic low. That’s right. I’m defending a Lindsay Lohan movie.

Make no mistake, most of the starlet’s actions are and have been inexcusable, but LiLo isn’t on trial here. The movie in question is 2006’s Just My Luck, featuring a doe-eyed Lindsay Lohan and a fresh-faced unknown (at the time) by the name of Chris Pine. Man, with this and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement already under his belt by 2006, who thought he would be a success story by 2012?

The movie currently holds a 13% rating (ironic, I know), with most critics citing disinterest. Richard Roeper made it a point to write very little else other than “a real piece of junk.” Inexplicably, the movie holds a 60% user rating, more than likely the doing of truly dedicated fans. But what is it that critics found so truly reprehensible about this movie?

After a repeat viewing, I honestly can’t say. Just My Luck is the kind of harmless fluff that’s so innocuous, it’s hard to take issue with the film. Now, that shouldn’t be mistaken for me singing its praises, but I’m still not quite sure I see eye-to-eye with its detractors. For those unfamiliar with the movie, it follows a young woman who’s supposedly super lucky. All that changes when she kisses a mysterious stranger at a masquerade ball, and he steals her luck. She then spends the rest of the movie trying to find the man who stole her luck, while looking for love.

Okay, ya know, now that I type that out, I see what people might not like about Just My Luck. The sheer lunacy of its premise is enough to drive any God-fearing moviegoer from their megaplex. But once you’re able to get past the idiocy of the premise, Just My Luck actually has quite bit of a charm to it. I don’t know, maybe I’m writing this as 2012 Calhoun, the one who misses the innocent days of Lindsay Lohan. Pre-panties incident. Pre-drunk driving. Pre-shit show LiLo. But honestly, Just My Luck really isn’t that bad.

In fact, it even has a few things going for it. A lot of reviewers pointed to the fact that Ms. Lohan was playing a 20-something, wondering if this meant the end of teen roles as she stepped into more adult roles. Well, c’mon folks, you read that plot description. If you honestly thought that this was the beginning of “grown-up teen princess,” you were just setting yourself up for failure. I’m sorry, but that’s on you. Luckily, Just My Luck does showcase a different side of the actress. Just My Luck gets physical. That’s right, you heard me. Lindsay Lohan does physical comedy. Does she do it well? She and Pine are no Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, but the two actually manage to hold their own. There are several gags that call for the leads to give it their all, and you can tell there is some real effort on both of their parts.

Unfortunately, Just My Luck suffers from some overwhelmingly mediocre writing, not enough to make it actively bad, but enough to warrant some groans and mild excitement when the film is finally over. Then again, it’s a modern rom-com. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel that way about the subgenre. Again, Just My Luck is no better than most of them, but it’s certainly no worse.

Honestly, the problem is with the medium itself. Just My Luck is cute with all of its slapstick and forced quirkiness, but is it enough to warrant a full-length movie? The answer is no. At a certain point, the film just starts to have bad shit happen to Lindsay Lohan for no other reason than convenience of plot. Getting electrocuted when changing out a lightbulb because you didn’t switch the light off? Well, that’s got nothing to do with luck. That’s just plain stupid. Unfortunately, these are the kinds of gags that Just My Luck goes for with overabundance.

In the end, Just My Luck is a wash, really. Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine are both effortlessly charming with a solid dose of slapstick thrown in for good measure. Still, there’s the pesky issue of the 102-minute movie just being too damn long. While I’m not sure if Just My Luck deserves to be revisited, it certainly doesn’t deserve to be reviled. It knows exactly what it is and plays to its audience, giving tweens everywhere the kind of safe, middle-of-the-road humor that they know and love.

  • Seetha Sankaranarayan

    Having seen bits and pieces of “Just My Luck,” I agree that it’s pretty harmless as far as LiLo flops go. I would love to hear your thoughts on “I Know Who Killed Me”!

    • I just bought it on blu ray (a whopping 5 bucks…) so you will know soon enough! You think it’s enough to do a piece on?

      • Oh for sure. I haven’t heard as much negative backlash to a movie since Glitter, which I incidentally watched last week and actually didn’t mind. Worth watching to find out!