Comedy Movie

Irish Wish

Two years ago Lindsay Lohan had her first starring role in almost a decade in the Netflix Holiday film “Falling for Christmas”, which she elevated with her innumerable charms. Re-teaming with director Janeen Damian, Lohan has returned to that same kind of screwball romantic comedy formula for “Irish Wish,” this time with a bit of fantasy and the luck of the Irish added to the mix.

Lohan plays Maddie Kelly, a book editor who harbors a big secret: she’s in love with her author, bestselling romance author Paul Kennedy (Alexander Vlahos), whose Irish charm masks his insipid personality. She’s only told her mother, Rosemary (Jane Seymour), a high school principal in Des Moines, Iowa. Maddie is set to tell him – and her best friends – how she feels on the night of the book’s big splashy premiere when her best friend Emma (Elizabeth Tan) and Paul meet-cute over a stray eyelash. Their chemistry is instant, and before we know it three months have passed by and the whole crew have been whisked to Ireland for a lavish wedding at Paul’s country estate.

At the airport Maddie has her own meet-cute when she mistakes the suitcase belonging to a roguish English photographer named James (Ed Speleers) for her own. After clearing up the confusion, the two share a bus ride from the airport into the country, where they share some more barbs, leaving thoroughly disliking each other. While on a walk after settling into the estate, Maddie finds herself on a stone wishing chair where an impish Saint Brigid (Dawn Bradfield) goads her into making a wish. “I wish I were marrying Paul Kennedy” she says with gusto, just as a gust of wind swirls fairytale pink blossoms around her and sucks her into the whirlwind of fate.

Getting what you wished for is often more of a curse than a blessing, and although she wakes up a bride, it’s clear very early on that she and Paul are ill-suited for each other. The more time they spend together, the more his boorishness reveals itself. As doubts creep in, Maddie spends time with the passionate and intellectual James, who has been roped into becoming the wedding photographer for her impending nuptials. It’s only after Maddie realizes her wish has made everyone’s life worse – and that she may be in love with James – that a priest informs her that Saint Brigid, taking a bit of a cue from Saint Mick and Saint Keith, doesn’t always give you what you want, but might just give you what you need.

While the structure and plotting doesn’t innovate on the genre much at all, Lohan’s mere presence makes the film work. She is an undeniable star and has always succeeded as a screwball comedienne, even when the material isn’t the greatest (I’m looking at you, “Just My Luck”). Damian often films her in medium close-ups bathed in a golden light that brings out her beauty naturally without calling too much attention to it. Her chemistry with Speleers is palpable, allowing their patter to sizzle and infuses their romantic moments, like a secretive dart game in a faraway pub, with some actual heat. In terms of the physical comedy, her pratfalls are funny and well-timed, though occasionally the editing between the star and her stunt person isn’t as seamless as it could be.

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