Welcome to Flopcorn, where Reader writers and contributors pay tribute to our very favorite bad movies. In this installment, social media editor Brianna Wellen gets ready for Valentine's Day by watching Just My Luck.
The year was 2006. Lindsay Lohan had just been anointed America's sweetheart after her starring role in the modern classic Mean Girls. Her follow-up was Just My Luck, the first time she would be playing an adult and not a teenager in a feature film. And she was getting $7.5 million to do it. Was she the luckiest girl in the world? Or was it all about to change?
Like Lohan at the time, Ashley, the character she plays in Just My Luck, experiences a seemingly endless string of personal and professional good fortune. The second she steps out of her apartment, it turns from a rainy day to a sunny one. Seas of traffic part so she can speed through. She gets promoted from assistant to vice president of her company. She accidentally gets Sarah Jessica Parker's dry cleaning right before a hot date. Maybe the weather and traffic can be attributed to good luck, but the latter instances are the epitome of white privilege. (The movie had a perfect opportunity here to comment on race and class, but why force a meaningful message into a light-hearted romp about two hot people whose lives change after a fateful interaction at a fancy party?)
Enter Chris Pine. He plays Jake, a wannabe band manager whose luck is the complete opposite of Ashley's. His presence causes a downpour. His pants rip. He gets electrocuted. He gets arrested. None of this bums him out too much because he's used to his life being this way and can deal with it.
As part of her promotion, Ashley is tasked with throwing a party for a company called Masquerade Records. When she suggests that they throw a masquerade party, her boss reacts as if no one has ever suggested putting a mask on anyone before. "How interesting!" she says. Yes, Ashley's luck somehow overrides history and cliche, making it seem as if she is the first person to ever propose a masquerade ball. And after all that, she doesn't even wear a mask to the party. Her face is fully visible.
Jake, however, does wear a mask when he sneaks into the party to try to get the head of the record studio a CD by the band McFly. (The credits say "Introducing McFly." Did we ever hear from McFly again? Or at all?) He is distracted from his mission by Ashley's unbelievable beauty, and the two end up on the dance floor together, where they kiss. And as everyone knows, a kiss is how luck is transfered. [Editor's note: I did not know that. Amazing!] Postsmooch, Jake instantly gets McFly a record deal and Ashley breaks her heel, rips her dress, chokes on an olive, and winds up in jail after setting up her boss with a sex worker.
Watching Ashley's bad-luck streak is fun in the same way watching the Fyre Fest documentaries is fun: there's something very satisfying about watching someone who's lived their entire life with extreme privilege suddenly struggle. And it's equally satisfying to watch Jake appreciate all the good things happening to him. Jake doesn't try too hard to figure out why his luck has suddenly changed, but Ashley is immediately on the case. She knows right away that the kiss is what caused the switcharoo, because, of course, that's how it works. That gives us a much-too-long montage of Ashley running around town with her friends surprise-kissing every man who was working at the party, which in this day and age should spark a pretty serious conversation about consent. You just can't kiss whoever you want, not even if you're Lindsay Lohan.
The main couple doesn't even run into each other again for another HOUR. The amount of time these two actually spend together does not warrant the supposed feelings they have for each other at the end of the film. This shouldn't be considered a romantic comedy. This movie is less about the two main characters falling in love and more about exploring the equilibrium of good will in the universe. It's a mystical fantasy about how each decision we make matters and the differing paths life can take. Move over Russian Doll, there's a new existential dark comedy in town. Give me a multiseason series exploring the world of Just My Luck and the magic behind it.
Maybe the magic actually exists in the real world. It's possible that the onscreen kiss had offscreen consequences. Just My Luck was Chris Pine's third movie ever. He went on to star in two major film franchises, win GQ's International Man of the Year award, and, according to a quick Google search, has a net worth of $20 million. [Editor's note: And nearly ruined Wonder Woman. Damn you, kissing luck!] Just My Luck was Lindsay Lohan's ninth leading role. She went on to star in a reality show about opening a beach house in Mykonos, win a Razzie for I Know Who Killed Me, and, according to several tabloid headlines, party away her fortune. Maybe we need to get these crazy kids together again for a sequel and a smooch to see if their luck changes again. v