by David Cornelius
Because the rest of the film was apparently not annoying enough, “Just My Luck” opens with the title sequence equivalent of nails on a chalkboard: as the JoBoxers’ cloying 80s new wave hit “Just Got Lucky” blares away on the soundtrack, a lengthy dose of Flash-style animation shows us a seemingly unending visual list of things that are either “lucky” or “unlucky,” followed by a barrage of alternate title choices: “No Such Luck,” “Tough Luck,” “Dumb Luck,” “Beginner’s Luck,” “A Kiss For Luck.” By the time the movie finally gets around to calling itself “Just My Luck,” we’re already hoping it’s over. (What’s that? We’re only sixty seconds in? Aw, crap…)Now that we’ve settled in early with our collected hatred of the movie, we’re treated to a scene in which nerdy-but-oh-he’d-be-cute-if-he’d-just-take-off-those-darn-glasses loser Jake (Chris Pine) discovers his pocket is full of dog excrement as he then winds up pantsless atop of passerby; he’s promptly hauled in on sexual assault charges, which we’re led to believe is not his first arrest. This, the movie tells us, is just a light case of bad luck. Oh, hilarity.
"[Insert random bad-luck-if-you-watch-it joke here.]"
Later, we get to watch as our heroine, Ashley (Lindsay Lohan), drops a contact lens into a cat’s litter box; she scoops it out and plunks it right back into her eye, never mind cleaning it off first. (It’s her last one, and she’s in a hurry, OK? Lay off!) When she winds up with an eye infection, we’re once again told it’s just a case of that oh-so-silly bad luck. Whoopsie!
It took five people to write this, arguably the laziest romantic comedy produced in years, which begs the question: just what did somebody have to do in order to wind up with a story credit? Walk by the office talking about cheapjack romcom clichés or catbox jokes? Apparently, yes.
The story finds Ashley working at either a fashion magazine, an advertising agency, or an event planner company - the movie’s not really sure which hackneyed occupation it want to lay on its star, so it just gets vague about it all. Anyway, Ashley’s the world’s luckiest woman, always winning the lottery and getting a cab when she wants; despite this, she’s lived her entire life not realizing the magic powers she has. (She is, however, enough of an imbecile to believe she wins scratch-offs because she scratches them just right.)
Meanwhile, Jake is the world’s unluckiest man; in addition to the constant sexual predator charges, he’s getting puddles splashed on his suit, which, I suppose, isn’t so bad by comparison. (Bad luck runs in his family: his sister gets action figures superglued to her face by bullies. Actually, that might not be due to bad luck, but instead the fact that she’s a whiny brat who genuinely deserves to get action figures superglued to her face by bullies.) Jake is struggling to manage an up-and-coming rock band, a group we’re told sounds like “early Beatles meets Blink-182,” and yes, they are as awful as that description sounds.
That Beatles reference had me thinking of a classic line from “Wayne’s World,” in which Wayne, after being told that a band calling themselves the Shitty Beatles really sucks, quips, “So it’s not just a clever name.” Indeed, if any band could be the Shitty Beatles, it’d be McFly, the pop-rock-lite band who are playing themselves in this movie.
Why talk so much about the Shitty Bea… I mean, about McFly? Well, it turns out that “Just My Luck” is less a Lindsay Lohan romcom vehicle and more an infomercial for McFly, complete with a big concert finale at the Hard Rock Café. Because apparently sitting through a brainless Lohan comedy wasn’t insufferable enough, we also have to watch as everyone tells us how great this oppressively generic rock group is, and by the way, the soundtrack album is available now.
Anyway. For plot reasons far too idiotic to discuss here (something about a fortune teller and a masquerade ball), Ashley and Jake wind up trading their luck. Soon Jake’s band is landing a major contract, while Ashley finds herself jobless, homeless, and covered in mud. If only Ashley could find the masked man with whom she traded luck (via a magical kiss, of course) and get her good luck back! But oh, she has no idea who that masked man was, but hey, this Jake fellow she just met seems kinda cute. If only she could find that masked man first!
Oh, the humanity. The good luck-bad luck theme of the film is a weak set up for an endless array of mercilessly unfunny pratfalls, most of them involving dirt or mud or feces of some kind. (When Ashley goes to a modern art museum where the centerpiece is a work made entirely of a giant pile of mud, you can just feel the writers not even bothering any more.) Nobody here is remotely likable; everyone here is shallow, imbecilic, or both; dialogue is shrill and whiny; and what’s the deal with the subplot about the record mogul (Faison Love) having a superstition about new bands only playing songs that they wrote themselves? Is this movie actively hoping people will hate it for being so stupid?Maybe it is. If you make it to the closing credits, you’ll realize that you haven’t seen a single character that you didn’t want to punch right in the jaw. “Just My Luck” is the cinematic equivalent of dog poo in your pocket and the Shitty Beatles on your iPod. Lovely.
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originally posted: 09/12/06 04:53:36