Irish Wish (2024)

Irish Wish Review

Irish Wish

Back in the day, about two years ago, Lindsay Lohan starred in her first feature film in nearly a decade with Netflix’s “Falling for Christmas,” and she does it again, this time adding some fantasy and Irish luck to the mix, with screwball rom-com “Irish Wish.” 

Maddie Kelly (Lohan) is a book editor who has been trying to keep a huge secret: She’s in love with her author best-selling romance novelist Paul Kennedy (Alexander Vlahos), whose Irish charm hides his insipid personality. The only person she’s told is her mother Rosemary (Jane Seymour), who is a high school principal in Des Moines, Iowa. She plans on telling him and her best friends how she feels on the night of the book’s big splashy premiere when best friend Emma (Elizabeth Tan) meets-cutes Paul over an eyelash. They have chemistry right away, and before we know it three months have passed by and the whole crew has been whisked away to Ireland for a lavish wedding at Paul’s country estate. 

At the airport Maddie has her own meet-cute when she mistakes her suitcase for that of roguishly handsome English photographer named James (Ed Speleers). After they clear up the confusion, they end up sharing a bus ride from the airport into the country where they share more barbs and leave thoroughly disliking each other. While on a walk after settling into the estate, Maddie finds herself upon 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 strongly as wind swirls fairytale pink blossoms around her and sucks her into fate’s whirlwind.

Be careful what you wish for because oftentimes it can be more of a curse than a blessing; although she wakes up a bride, it becomes clear very early on that she and Paul are not right for each other. The more time they spend together, the more his boorishness is revealed. Doubts begin to arise when Maddie spends time with passionate and intellectual James who has been roped into being 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 Saint Brigid doesn’t always give you what you want (à la Saint Mick and Saint Keith), but might just give you what you need.

Because the structure and plotting do not deviate much from the genre, Lohan’s involvement alone is what makes this film successful. She is an undeniable star and always has been a screwball comedienne born out of time, succeeding even when the material isn’t (hey there, “Just My Luck”). Damian often shoots her in medium close-ups bathed in a golden light that highlights her natural beauty without being too showy about it. Her chemistry with Speleers is palpable; they spit their patter at each other like pros, and some real heat comes through in their romantic moments, like a covert game of darts in a faraway pub. Physically speaking, her pratfalls are funny and well-timed though occasionally the editing between Lindsay and her stunt person is less than seamless.

And man oh man, is the Irish countryside gorgeous. From the sparkling waters of Lough Tay to the jaw-dropping Cliffs of Moher, you’re transported to a lush land where mischievous fairies might still exist and true love can win after all. The whole Irish-ness of it all is underscored by a sometimes cheesy but mostly charming score by Nathan Lanier that riffs on variations of your prototypical Celtic music.

Where this movie loses me is with its supporting cast. Vlahos shines as vapid Paul; if his line delivery doesn’t remind you of “Liberty Biberty” car insurance commercials then I don’t know what to tell you because that’s very much meant as a compliment. But Seymour feels largely wasted here as Mom — not only does she never share an actual scene with Lohan (everything’s over FaceTime), but her humor is too broad and doesn’t jibe with the rest of the movie’s tone. As for Jacinta Mulcahy… let’s just say she doesn’t do Olivia any favors.

Tan gets a few moments as Emma that genuinely moved me in the alternate universe where the man she loves is marrying someone else, but their romance in either universe is underdeveloped given the emotional stakes. There’s a third friend, Heather, played by celebrity chef Ayesha Curry who has not yet mastered the art of saying a line and acting at the same time as well as she has the art of cooking.

All that said, “Irish Wish” is about as diverting as the paperback romance novel Maddie edits for Paul — and just about as forgettable. I would love to see Lohan’s star shine in a bigger-budget rom-com (a la “Anyone But You”), but if after all those years of unfair media scrutiny she’s finally found some creative freedom and safety working with Damian, and we get one of these small-budget Netflix romps every few years or so … it still feels like a win.

Watch Irish Wish For Free On Gomovies.

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