‘Irish Wish’ Netflix Movie Review: A Bland Speed Bump in the Revival of Lindsay Lohan’s Superstar Status

The latest Lindsey Lohan Netflix project, Irish Wish, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch?

Andrew Morgan What's on Netflix Avatar
·

Irish Wish Netflix Movie Review 1 Star

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024

Starring in the first film of her two-picture deal signed with Netflix two years ago, Mean Girls and Freaky Friday star Lindsey Lohan continues her way back into the Hollywood limelight with the fantasy-laden romantic comedy Irish Wish.

After her meteoric rise to fame as a child/teen star and platinum-selling recording artist, Lohan struggled for the better part of a decade as her legal issues and rehab appearances derailed one of the brightest careers in the industry. Following her successful first film for the platform, the rom-com holiday film Falling For Christmas, and her recent cameo in the 2024 version of Mean Girls, Lohan’s stock seems to be rising as this new film releases this weekend.

Irish Wish reunites Lohan with her Director/Executive Producer partner Janeen Damian, who fulfilled the same roles for the aforementioned Falling For Christmas. Written by frequent TV movie scribe Kirsten Hansen (Cross Country Christmas, Christmas on My Mind), the film centers around Maddie Kelly, a book editor and aspiring novelist who can’t seem to speak up for herself and truly go for what she wants out of life.

Following her recent collaboration with Irish author Paul Kennedy (Outlander’s Alexander Vlahos), Maddie hopes to elevate her career as an author herself through Paul, as well as reveal her true romantic feelings for him. At an appearance promoting the book Paul & Maddie worked on together, she tries to work up the courage to tell him everything she wishes for herself; however, things change drastically as Paul requests Maddie immediately help him with his next book. To make matters worse, Paul also falls for Maddie’s best friend Emma (Top Boy’s Elizabeth Tan) after they meet at the appearance’s afterparty.

After their brief courtship turns into a destination wedding in Ireland, Maddie is forced to put her feelings aside and join the wedding party as a bridesmaid for Emma. Days before the pair are set to marry, Maddie makes a spontaneous wish for her to marry Paul instead upon a special chair in the woods near Paul’s family home. Before she knows it, she wakes up to a new reality as Paul’s bride-to-be with Emma relegated to a bridesmaid at Maddie’s side. With her dream seeming to come true, she soon realizes that her real soulmate is someone else entirely and that her wish may not be coming true after all.

Alongside Lohan, Vlahos, & Tan, the cast features Downton Abbey co-star Ed Speleers as photographer James Thomas, cooking television personality Ayesha Curry as Maddie’s friend Heather, screen legend Jane Seymour as Maddie’s mother Rosemary, & Lohan’s real life brother Dakota as Finn.

Much like many people around my early 40s age, Lindsay Lohan holds an adorably special place in my mind & heart. Being only 4 years older than her, many of her more prominent roles resonated with me and made me a fan as early as The Parent Trap days. It’s hard not to root for her comeback on and off screen after a seemingly insurmountable amount of personal issues & family drama made her yet another child star whose career got derailed.
From my perspective, I thought the pairing of Netflix & Lohan made an incredible amount of sense. The streamer is not only one of the leading producers of romantic comedies, but is also a fan of reviving past stars of the genre to be the face of their current projects. Rachael Leigh Cook, Gabrielle Union, Brooke Shields, & many others have made films for Netflix in recent years after doing lower profile projects for some time. Lohan would benefit from a soft reboot in a genre she knows quite well.

In fact, I can even say that, while it’s not groundbreaking or top list worthy of the genre’s Netflix Original films, Falling For Christmas was a commercial success for Lohan that played to her charms and allowed her to be physically comedic. It seems to be gaining some traction as a holiday staple for some as it landed back on the Netflix Top 10 during the Christmas season even a year after its initial release.

I mention all of this goodwill and praise so I can say the following while coming from a place of rooting interest and support: Irish Wish is a waste of time and, more importantly, a waste of Lindsay Lohan.

With a script so poor that it feels written by AI, the film doesn’t work as a romance nor a comedy. Each relationship that Lohan’s character enters into never seems well-established with reasons to root one way or another. Before she wakes up from her newly wished existence, they have us meet both men that she will be linked to: a narcissistic, well-off author who took advantage of her writing prowess to further his career AND a prickly, snarky journeyman wildlife photographer who seems to have a tear down comment for anything Maddie says in his presence. Two awful choices that she feels compelled to choose from because of proximity, jealousy, & some base level attractiveness.

Lindsay Lohan And Ed Speelers In Red Car In Irish Wish

Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024

The film and its creators want you to believe that the heart of the story is a journey of self-discovery and self-confidence for Maddie, but it never feels that way. They never prove her to be a good writer or a woman who truly knows what she wants. Does she have a novel ready for publishing that she can put in Paul’s hands? No. Does she say what type of person she wants to spend the rest of her life with and head toward the man with those qualities? No. Does her best friend’s relationship with her author crush make more sense than either of her suitor possibilities? Kind of. Yes.

As a person who is half-Irish and has visited the lovely country of Ireland, I appreciate the buffet of gorgeous countryside on display throughout the film. But writing in the Ireland backdrop just to do a less than half-baked wish fulfillment involving a barely explained female saint and a wishing chair with mystic properties in the woods by a lake makes me cringe on many levels. Why the fantasy element here? Why not have a genuine self discovery in her current reality? Face her problems head-on in an uncomfortable destination wedding as opposed to a forced, magical wedding of her own? The film hides behind a gimmick to take away any genuine growth for its protagonist or development of supporting characters to help her in her moments of crisis.

I could go on with a litany of grievances and annoyances in this film, but the effort seems fruitless. Performances can hardly be judged against the boring, contrived “trope for tropes’ sake” pages of the screenplay. The complete lack of energy, momentum, and verve (outside of an extremely forced violent outburst towards the end) makes the film a slog for a 93-minute movie. If the bar was Falling For Christmas once again, they sadly missed the mark.

Overall, Irish Wish is a bland speed bump in the revival of Lindsay Lohan’s superstar status. A dreadful screenplay unfitting of Lohan’s current momentum with a complete lack of pulse or reasoning takes most of the blame here. The beautiful countryside & shores of Ireland are no match for the banal creations on screen. My only wish is that we get better results with Lohan’s next Netflix starring vehicle Our Little Secret later on this year.

Irish Wish Lindsay Lohan Netflix Movie

Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024


Watch Irish Wish If You Liked

  • Falling For Christmas
  • A Tourist’s Guide To Love
  • Just My Luck
  • Freaky Friday

MVP of Irish Wish

The Beauty of Ireland

I once described the Netflix original rom-com A Tourist’s Guide to Love as a “Venn Diagram between vacation porn, romance, & nostalgia if the vacation porn circle was trying desperately to push the other pieces out entirely” and this movie feels closer to that feeling than anything they’ve produced since. While Irish Wish may feel less like a travel brochure than that Rachael Leigh Cook vehicle, it still makes you wish you were on the Cliffs of Moher more than sitting on your couch. With beautiful countryside estates & lush greens as far as the eye can see, the film does an excellent job of putting you in body & mind in the beauty of Ireland. Time to download better Lindsay Lohan movies and renew my passport!

1/5Terrible
★☆☆☆☆

Rewatching a Lohan classic or grabbing a pint at your local Irish pub makes for a better time than whatever this attempt was.

Written by

Andrew Morgan is a film critic & podcaster with 20 years of experience on the sets & offices of film & television. Current podcast host of the entertainment review show, Recent Activity. He lives in the Northeast of the United States.

 Poster Rating: TV-PG
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Director: Janeen Damian
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Ed Speleers, Alexander Vlahos, Ayesha Curry, Jane Seymour, Elizabeth Tan
Added to Netflix: March 15th, 2024

View Viewing Statistics