Lindsay Lohan is officially in her second act but Irish Wish is not worthy of her talent

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly.
Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Credit: Netflix

Anyone who is anyone in Hollywood goes to the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party. Amid the cavalcade of A-listers including Margot Robbie, Emma Stone, Michelle Yeoh, Charlize Theron and Robert Downey Jr, do you know who everyone wanted to talk to?

“The person who was being professionally chased after the most was Lindsay Lohan,” the VF reporters in the room said on its Little Gold Men podcast.

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Standing on VF’s red carpet, decked out in a custom slinky, silver Balenciaga gown, she looked confident. Now 37, she’s releasing a rom-com movie, Irish Wish, this week, had a talked-about cameo in the Mean Girls movie musical and has shot another Christmas movie for later this year.

And after years of substance abuse, rehab and legal issues – all played out publicly, tailed by paparazzi from the time she was child – Lohan even seems to have found contentment in her personal life, married to a financier and mum to a 7-month old baby.

Lohan is officially in her second act.

Lindsay Lohan has welcomed her first child - a baby boy - with husband Bader Shammas.  The star, 37, who wed Shammas in 2022, has named her son Luai and the family are 'in love' with their new addition.
Lindsay Lohan with husband Bader Shammas. Credit: Instagram/Instagram

Lohan broke out as a 12-year-old in the Disney remake of The Parent Trap and immediately gained attention as a spritely child actor with magnetic screen presence, incredible timing and an emotional honesty even many adult actors can’t convey.

But like many child stars, global fame, pressure to financially support her family and incessant intrusion, took a devastating toll. After a breakneck pace of work from 2003 until 2007, she largely disappeared from the screen.

She made a few B movies that no one saw and had occasional cameos in TV episodes, and by 2016, she took herself off the board and moved to Dubai, where paparazzi are banned.

The 2022 Netflix holiday movie Falling for Christmas was her first proper role in almost a decade. It was awful. A listless Overboard-but-with-a-ski-lodge rip-off, the asinine scripting and limp direction was not worthy of what audiences know Lohan can do.

Think of her crackling energy in Freaky Friday, going toe-to-toe with Jamie Lee Curtis. Or her assured performance in Mean Girls, anchoring a talented ensemble cast of an instant classic.

Irish Wish, out on Netflix today, is barely a step above that Christmas dud. The rom-com, which Lohan executive produced and is directed by Janeen Damian, the same filmmaker as Falling for Christmas, is a forgettable and cringe effort that would be, at best, inoffensive if it hadn’t wasted Lohan’s innate talent.

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Netflix  2024
Irish Wish is a forgettable rom-com. Credit: Netflix

Lohan plays a woman named Maddie, a book editor secretly in love with Paul (Alexander Vlahos), the successful author with whom she works. The problem is, Paul is marrying Maddie’s good friend (Elizabeth Tan) and the wedding is at Paul’s posh family estate in Ireland.

Unable to shake off her crush, Maddie makes a wish to a witch/trickster/sprite that she wants to be the one to marry Paul and she wakes up as the bride. Ooops. Meanwhile, there’s also a photographer (Ed Speleers) that she seems to be sparking with.

Irish Wish is predictable and naff. None of the supporting characters have any nuance (guarantee you won’t remember the characters’ names) and it completely does dirty by Jane Seymour who plays Lohan’s onscreen mother.

Irish Wish wouldn’t be a blip on anyone’s radar, except for the most glassy-eyed, unengaged viewer, other than Lohan’s involvement. But that’s also why it is kind-of-interesting. Because everyone is watching her next move, people want her to do well, and be well.

Lohan’s story is one of those tragic tales where the industry sucked in a talented young artist and chewed her up and spat her out. She deserved better.

THE PARENT TRAP, Lindsay Lohan, 1998, (c) Walt Disney/courtesy Everett Collection
Double talent in The Parent Trap. Credit: Disney

In an interview with Bustle this week, she said that after a certain point, she wanted to disappear because as long as gave the paparazzi anything at all, even just existing in the same geographical space, then her personal life was always going to overshadow her work.

But this? This is not good work. Falling for Christmas and Irish Wish are not good work.

Lohan needs to be paired with better directors who understand how to get a great performance out of her? That she chose to work with Damian again means she obviously feels comfortable collaborating with her, but the results are frightful. The Hallmark Channel has made better movies.

That second Christmas movie she’s filmed co-stars Kristin Chenoweth, Tim Meadows and Chris Parnell and was directed by Stephen Herek, a filmmaker who’s done little of note in recent years but early on in his career made The Mighty Ducks, 101 Dalmatians and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. So maybe it’ll be goofy but actually funny.

There’s also the mooted Freaky Friday sequel.

Lohan has momentum right now, she has goodwill and she has natural gifts. Is she squanders them continuing to do projects the calibre of Irish Wish, then that second act will soon be merely a footnote.

Irish Wish is streaming now on Netflix

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