As disposable as a broken mirror, “Just My Luck” plays like a focus-group compilation of everything a 12-year-old girl could want in a Lindsay Lohan movie — boy-band soundtrack and super-chic wardrobe, plus a leading lady who, against considerable odds, emerges with her charm and dignity mostly intact. Slick bubble-gum fantasy about the supernatural transfer of luck between two romantic hopefuls couldn’t be more effectively tweener-targeted, ensuring steady adolescent biz and possibly even luckier numbers on homevid.
Helmer Donald Petrie (“Miss Congeniality,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”) seems at times to be making the modern-day equivalent of a Doris Day comedy, setting the pic in a lacquered fantasy New York, piling on cutesy-coy dialogue and mining a fluffy premise for all manner of far-fetched cleverness.
Though it’s never quite clear how old her character is supposed to be, 19-year-old Lohan is well cast as the preternaturally lucky Ashley Albright, who can hardly cross the street or scratch a lottery ticket without reaping major benefits. Her accursed opposite is an accident-prone young man named Jake (Chris Pine, unconvincing as a bespectacled dweeb), who supplements his dead-end job trying to manage a band (real-life Brit boy group McFly, for whom “Just My Luck” serves as an exceedingly blatant piece of advertising).
The two first cross paths at a lavish masquerade ball thrown in honor of Damon Phillips (Faizon Love), a record industry bigwig being courted by the PR firm where Ashley works. In a characteristically contrived setup, Jake, trying to hustle Phillips into listening to a sample CD, ends up taking to the dance floor with Ashley.
The random kiss that follows — much like the magical fortune cookies in the superior Lohan vehicle “Freaky Friday” — triggers an abrupt role shift, with Jake shedding his geeky veneer and making major career progress while Ashley’s life spirals haplessly out of control.
Before long, Ashley finds herself homeless, jobless and slathered in large quantities of mud and paint, as Lohan, once the picture of pert sophistication, is repeatedly put through the physical wringer. Thesp has a gift for knockabout comedy that results in some deftly choreographed slapstick, plus a few sequences — one of them involving a malfunctioning washing machine — that seem to be straining rather desperately for “I Love Lucy” territory.
Petrie maintains a machine-polished comic rhythm that’s well-suited to the relentless artificiality of I. Marlene King and Amy B. Harris’ script. As their characters begin to circle each other romantically, unaware they have each inherited the other’s luck (or lack thereof), Lohan and Pine display an easy, winsome chemistry. Yet even their heartfelt moments feel overly shellacked by Teddy Castellucci’s sugary score, as does the story’s weirdly irrelevant just-say-no-to-superstitions message.
Missi Pyle is nastily one-note as Ashley’s reptilian boss, while Tovah Feldshuh is wasted as a tarot-card reader who foresees the change in Ashley’s fortunes. Samaire Armstrong (“The OC”) makes a strong impression as Ashley’s spirited but sensible friend.
Pic’s equation of luck with material success is matched visually by its love of shiny surfaces, as expressed in Ray Kluga’s Gotham-lux production design and Gary Jones’ runway-ready costumes. Lohan, for the record, wears an inordinate amount of eye shadow for reasons that appear unconnected with the script.