Review of “Irish Wish”: Lindsay Lohan Leads a Synthetic Magical Roman Comedy Trifle, but She Has No Blarney Chemistry With Ed Speleers

By Gita Samanta Mar19,2024
Review of "Irish Wish": Lindsay Lohan Leads a Synthetic Magical Roman Comedy Trifle, but She Has No Blarney Chemistry With Ed SpeleersReview of "Irish Wish": Lindsay Lohan Leads a Synthetic Magical Roman Comedy Trifle, but She Has No Blarney Chemistry With Ed Speleers

We often associate “chemistry” between two stars with primitive animal magnetism. Perhaps that is the crux of the matter. However, when a love film succeeds—even a manufactured magical rom-com confection like “Irish Wish”—it’s not just the actors’ physical attraction that captures our attention. The audience connects with both the actors and the two characters because of their chemistry.

(In this sense, there is a bit of a threesome to screen chemistry.) In “Irish Wish,” Lindsay Lohan and Ed Speleers had a bond like that. The film is as formulaic as the most recent cheap Netflix rom-com and as frothy as the foam on a pint of Guinness. However, these two convince you that they belong together, which is something that not every romantic comedy does.

Review of "Irish Wish": Lindsay Lohan Leads a Synthetic Magical Roman Comedy Trifle, but She Has No Blarney Chemistry With Ed Speleers
Review of “Irish Wish”: Lindsay Lohan Leads a Synthetic Magical Roman Comedy Trifle, but She Has No Blarney Chemistry With Ed Speleers

The setting of “Irish Wish” is a fantasy world infused with elements of fairy tales. The movie’s first hint that it’s not quite grounded comes in the opening scene, when tall, dark, and handsome popular novelist Paul (Alexander Vlahos) is greeted like a movie star and poses for photographers in front of a red carpet event that turns out to be…a book reading. (The title of his most recent book is “Two Irish Hearts.”) The ticklish-tacky nature of “Irish Wish” is best illustrated by the scene in which Lohan’s Maddie, Paul’s editor, enters the gathering and meets up with her two pals, Emma (Elizabeth Tan) and Heather (Ayesha Curry).

You like it, Heather asks. “It’s amazing,” exclaims Maddie. The movie doesn’t appear to realize that a publishing house editor would have already been collaborating directly with the designer on the cover.

In addition to being Paul’s secret love interest, Maddie believes that her editing is the secret weapon that has made his book so excellent. But he says something entirely different just when she’s certain he’s about to confess his feelings to her. One minute later, he is engaged to Emma, and everyone is traveling to the Irish countryside for the nuptials.

At the luggage carousel in the airport, she meets James (played by the aforementioned Ed Speleers) and they both think the same suitcase is theirs. After an amusingly antagonistic bus ride, Jane reaches Paul’s magnificent family estate, a villa that could rival Saltburn. That’s the first indication that Paul isn’t deserving of Maddie; his tactless smarmy behavior is the second. However, while taking a stroll across the countryside, Maddie places a wish onto a rock, expressing her desire to wed Paul. At that point, a headscarf-wearing fairy godmother emerges.

It’s none other than Saint Brigid, the patroness saint of Ireland and wish-granter in this film! Her wish fulfillments are usually not without a catch. Maddie finds out instantly that she is getting married to Paul. However, it’s not quite the romantic relationship she had hoped for.

James, the man she met, is a wildlife photographer who travels the world and is so solitary that he doesn’t even own a house. He has been hired to take wedding photos. He plans to take some pre-wedding pictures of her to the Cliffs of Moher, so the two get into his classic red Triumph.

Instead, because of a downpour and a fallen tree that blocks the only route, they become lost in the lush countryside. This is where we witness that Lohan still has the capacity to light up a room; she exudes an experienced glow. And Speleers is the most endearing British actor I’ve seen in a long time. He looks like a rough, sandpaper-looking JFK with a dash of Dominic West. He exudes a squinty, Bondian arrogance. In a bar, he and Lohan dance a jig together, but what really gets going is their brusque and chivalrous dance.

The idea behind “Irish Wish” is that, despite not being intended to marry Paul, Maddie is now set to wed him. Because the film takes its plot so literally, it ends with her marrying a man in an other reality in which she hardly knows him. This is problematic. He is unaware that she adores dancing and looks up to James Joyce; she also doesn’t know that he intends to continue having her essentially ghostwrite his books. Don’t worry, though; Saint Brigid will keep the two of them apart by causing numerous obstacles in Maddie Seymour’s mother’s (Jane Seymour) path to go from Des Moines to West Ireland.

And before long, Maddie’s greatest hope will be to have her wish granted. “Irish Wish” is more than happy to kiss the Blarney Stone in the role of a romantic comedy. However, Lohan and Speleers’ chemistry makes it watchable enough to pass.

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