Irish Wish review: Lindsay Lohan's talent is just not enough to save this script

Irish Wish on Netflix
Irish Wish on Netflix /

Lindsay Lohan is making a comeback with two Netflix movies under her belt and another on the way, but are the movies any good? There's a certain amount of cheesiness to be expected from Christmas movies, but Lohan's new film, Irish Wish, theoretically should show more of Lohan's adult potential.

Irish Wish follows Madeline Kelly (Lohan), a book editor and aspiring author, who has a massive crush on mega-author Paul Kennedy (Alexander Vlahos). There are just two problems. One: she wrote most of his last book. Two: she missed her chance to tell him how she felt.

After a run-in at a promotional event, Paul is now engaged to marry Maddie's friend Emma (Elizabeth Tan), and she's set to be one of Emma's bridesmaids. What is there to do but make a wish to Saint Brigid (Dawn Bradfield) for her to be the one marrying Paul instead?

Irish Wish markets itself as a rom-com with a magical twist

This movie follows in the footsteps of movies like 27 Dresses, but there isn't much to it that audiences haven't seen before. Girl likes boy, boy is not-so-secretly a jerk, girl finds another boy. Alongside the hopeless romantic yearning is a wish come true that shows Maddie that her crush is not necessarily based in reality.

The magic itself feels like the Irish version of Freaky Friday, where the drastic shift to the universe happens more by accident than as an intentional choice. While Maddie did make the wish, it wasn't executed in a way that would make even the most meant-to-be couple feel natural.

Maddie never actually enjoys the fact that she is now in a relationship with the supposed man of her dreams. Part of this is because she simply doesn't have the memories of their relationship, but she doesn't seem to want to find out. She actively avoids Paul as much as possible, rejecting any opportunities for physical affection.

While she showed signs of jealousy when Paul and Emma were together before she made her wish, there's almost no evidence of her even enjoying Paul's presence afterward. How are audiences supposed to root for Maddie and Paul (even for just a few scenes) when the characters themselves don't?

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

The romantic chemistry just isn't there

Almost halfway through this review, we still haven't even mentioned the man who's clearly supposed to be Maddie's true love interest. Since she is actively avoiding her wish-begotten fiancé, Maddie ends up spending most of her time with sarcastic photographer James (Ed Speleers). They met at the airport in a forced enemies-to-lovers encounter, continuing to grow closer while scouting locations for a photo shoot after the wedding.

During this time, Maddie gets to experience the beauty of Ireland, which honestly seems to be her actual love interest. From the Cliffs of Moher to a cozy pub with plenty of dancing, Maddie seems enthralled with the Emerald Isle, and that interest theoretically reflects onto her tour guide. Unfortunately, they don't have much of a relationship dynamic either.

While Maddie and James explore Ireland, Emma and Paul, at least, seem to be doing some serious yearning. It's clear that these two actually should be together. If that was the whole point, it might be an interesting moral for the genre. Something like, "Even if he was perfect for you, you wouldn't want to be responsible for ruining your friend's happiness.' But their interactions are still pretty shallow, making it hard to root for any of the film's couples.

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ayesha Curry as Heather, Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly, Alexander Vlahos as Paul Kennedy, and Elizabeth Tan as Emma Taylor. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024 /

Too many characters, too little personality

Ireland is beautiful and Lindsay Lohan feels perfect for this role, but it ultimately feels like the script needed a serious editing job that it never was able to receive. In addition to the core four romantic leads, the movie includes lonely bridesmaid Heather (Ayesha Curry), brother/groomsman Kory (Matty McCabe), and three parents (Jacinta Mulcahy, Jane Seymour, and Maurice Byrne).

None of these characters get much of a personality, yet they take up far too much time on-screen. For instance, there are five scenes with Maddie's mom, even though she has little to no impact on the story as a whole. Those conversations could have been given to Heather, who is actually in the same location as the other characters, but she too ends up just being another character who feels unnecessary.

Unfortunately, this means that there aren't any characters for audiences to latch onto when the plot is at its weakest. It feels like Maddie's mother was supposed to be more important to this movie, but the current arrangement makes her (and most of the side characters) into little more than extras.

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas, Elizabeth Tan as Emma Taylor, Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly, Ayesha Curry as Heather, Alexander Vlahos as Paul Kennedy. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024 /

Poor characterization keeps it from creating a compelling ending

This could have been a really fun movie. It's full of talented actors, and the filming locations are to die for. But, in the end, there's not much that audiences are dying to see. It's more cathartic to see Maddie finally appreciate her value as a writer than it is to see any of the couples get together.

This was actually a relatively enjoyable movie to watch, especially in the beginning, but it just doesn't ever reach its full potential. When the most compelling couple is founded on their shared ability to ride bikes and belief in men wearing makeup, it's not a good sign.

Irish Wish had so many things going for it, but it just couldn't stick the landing. This reviewer would love to see the cast in a different movie. Lindsay Lohan is still just as charming as ever, and Alexander Vlahos has shown throughout his career how well he can play complex characters. This movie just doesn't do its actors justice.

Verdict: A weak script makes Irish Wish a film that manages to be worth less than the sum of its parts. Our score? 2/5

Irish Wish is streaming on Netflix now.

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