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MOVIE REVIEW

Lohan's 'Luck' is mostly bad

Just My Luck
Directed by: Donald Petrie
Written by: I. Marlene King and Amy Harris
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Chris Pine, Faizon Love, Tovah Feldshuh
At: Boston Common, Fenway, suburbs
Running time: 103 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (brief sexual reference)

Wondering when a 19-year-old is going to stop acting like a teenager and start acting like a woman seems unfair. I mean, can't a girl dance on a table for a few more minutes?

But if the 19-year-old is Lindsay Lohan, 20 can't come soon enough. By then, we can hope that Lohan will have outgrown her contractual obligation to appear in junk like ''Just My Luck."

This mangy comedy only demonstrates that Lohan's star power is too bright for falling into mounds of mud, rooting around in cat litter for a contact lens, and getting punched out by a roughneck jailbird, as she does here.

Lohan plays Ashley Albright, one of those entitled Manhattan girls with a walk-in closet the size of most studio apartments. Everything she does is perfect. Elevators bearing hot young male heirs appear at her convenience. Chris Carmack plays one such hottie, who claims to be the son of a Boston Celtics owner and flies her in his private copter to a game.

But in a single night Ashley's charmed life vanishes when she makes out with a nerdy klutz named Jake (Chris Pine) who suffers nothing but misfortune in attempts to win a record deal for the band he manages.

What anyone could have predicted -- even a hammy Tovah Feldshuh as the movie's Russian fortune teller -- is that the formulaic story would turn out be a variation on Lohan's big hit ''Freaky Friday." Only this switcheroo lets the victims kiss a lot.

There is a humongous flaw in all of this: When these two meet again after their fortunes have flipped, Jake demonstrates no memory of their magical smooch. Most guys would consider this kiss an excuse never to wash their mouths again.

Even by the haphazard standards of his ''Miss Congeniality" and ''How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" director Donald Petrie seems bored here. Maybe it's because the script, by I. Marlene King and Amy Harris (a former ''Sex & the City" writer), is full of wearisome pratfalls and dialogue that's eager to name drop. (OMG, Sarah Jessica Parker totally lives in Ashley's building!) But, sadly, that's to be expected nowadays in Hollywood movies aimed at MySpace cadets.

What's truly depressing about ''Just My Luck" is how musically wrong-footed it is. Ashley is a peon at a big PR firm, and a bash she throws wins her a promotion. But someone should hang the DJ. All he plays is the kind of anonymous trance music that you'd expect to hear at a tweaked-out Dutch disco, not at a function for a record label whose president (Faizon Love) is like Damon Dash in Suge Knight's body and ''L.A." Reid's clothes. Where's the Lil Jon? Where's the Rihanna? Heck, where's the Fall Out Boy?

As it happens, ''Just My Luck" is secretly a commercial for McFly, the rock quartet Jake manages. It's a real band from England pinning its hopes for American success on this movie. (Good luck.) Jake tells the record mogul they're a cross between the early Beatles and blink-182. It's a heartbreaking moment because you know what he means, and it doesn't sound appealing at all.

Fortunately, Lohan doesn't have to feign interest in McFly's earnest, sugarcoated whining. But she does have to slide around in a mess of soap suds. Why she agreed to front a movie tailor-made for Hilary Duff or the Olsens is a mystery. But I'm willing to look on the bright side and hope that a 20-year-old Lohan will graduate from teen dreck and remember ''Just My Luck" as a high-paying commencement exercise.

Wesley Morris can be reached at wmorris@globe.com.

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