Just My Luck

Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine in Just My Luck

 

 

Released as its star Lindsay Lohan enters a spiral of celebrity freefall, Just My Luck is directed by Donald Petrie, who is a dab hand at turning unbelievable Hollywood nonsense into something resembling a decent movie. So he almost managed to make you forget that the undercover cop and supposed frump in Miss Congeniality was the never-less-than-hot Sandra Bullock. Or that in the romcom How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Kate Hudson … to be honest, it’s so whimsical and borderline nasty that I’m not going to go there. Here Petrie takes the still perky screen presence of Lohan and inserts her into a similarly whimsical and borderline nasty scenario – she’s the luckiest girl in the world (she works in PR, so hey) who one night, when the planets are lined up a particular way, or something, meets the unluckiest man in the world (Chris Pine). They kiss. And suddenly he’s on the up and her perfect life is on the skids. Luck and its transferability being the big idea, as it was in another much better recent film, The Cooler. Though as Just My Luck progresses, and Lohan’s character – whose name, Ashley Albright, has rhythmic and alliterative echoes of her own – finds the unlucky life increasingly heavy going, it becomes clear that what this movie is really about is how difficult it is for the incredibly privileged to find their way through what to you and I would be termed normal life. Poor poor Lindsay.

© Steve Morrissey 2006

 

Just My Luck – at Amazon

 

 

 

Miss Congeniality

Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality

 

 

Call it nominative determinism but the Kirk Douglas-dimpled Sandra Bullock is often the most bullish person in the movies she’s in. This is presumably why somebody thought she’d be ideal playing a tough cop who makes an ugly-duckling transformation in order to go undercover at a beauty pageant. It’s completely unbelievable, of course – Bullock never for a second looks less than a Hollywood A list star, even when made up to look like a dog. But who wants believable when there’s fun to be had? And so we yield to Bullock’s brilliant comic interplay with Michael Caine, as her camp coach in feminine poise (see what I mean by unbelievable), and if that doesn’t work you can always snigger at the self-deprecatingly amusing turn as an oily MC by William Shatner’s hairpiece. Here’s a film that has all the old-fashioned energy of a 1930s screwball comedy, which generally handed decent roles to strong women, though it does get its thong in a twist trying simultaneously to validate and pillory beauty queens.

© Steve Morrissey 2013

 

 Miss Congeniality – at Amazon