Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lindsay Lohan, Luke Kirby, Chris Parnell, Aaron Yoo, Bridgit Mendler, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kevin Covais, Bonnie Somerville, Cheryl Hines, Creed Bratton, Janeane Garofalo, Keiko Agena, Donald V. Allen, Jack Axelrod, Alexandra Barreto
Written by: Stacey Kramer, Lara Shapiro
Directed by: Lara Shapiro
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language
Running Time: 89
Date: 06/19/2009

Labor Pains (2009)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Baby Faker

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I like Lindsay Lohan. I really do. I think that, underneath the self-destructive behavior and stupidity, there's a genuine screen presence, if not talent. Onscreen, she's still adorable, sometimes even sexy, and her raspy voice betrays a slightly wounded, battered quality; she brings a painful past to each new role. Her choices, on the other hand, leave a bit to be desired. You could almost program a Lindsay Lohan film festival of shame, though I do confess admiration and adoration for some of her films: Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, A Prairie Home Companion and Bobby, and I even like Herbie Fully Loaded for its goofy, post-modern take on a tired genre.

Now we have Labor Pains, and if it were anyone else's movie, it would be nothing more than a failed romcom, but right now it's further evidence of decline in the eyes of Lohan's detractors. Just the fact that it went straight to DVD is bad enough, but the fact that it's boring and not funny is the nail in the coffin. Lohan plays Thea Clayhill, a lowly secretary at a publishing company. When she's on the verge of losing her job, she lies about being pregnant. Of course, the lie gets out of hand and she winds up being promoted to associate editor, working on a new (supposedly "fresh") book about pregnancy. She falls in love with her sweet, temporary boss, Nick (Luke Kirby), while the head boss (Chris Parnell) is out on extended leave. Not even Cheryl Hines can provide many laughs as Thea's "best friend." And, if you bet five bucks that the film will end "2 years later" with a real pregnancy, you'll be five bucks richer.

Written by Lara Shapiro and Stacey Kramer and directed by Shapiro, the film has very little grace or warmth; most of the cuts and rhythms seem forced into place rather than flowing there. It might be easy to blame Lohan for this; perhaps she had too many interns running around for vitamin water and sunglasses polish and the shooting schedule ran short, but we can't say for sure. I can say for sure that the material is lazy and that Lohan, if given a real chance, could perhaps shine once again.

DVD Details: The DVD, distributed by First Look Pictures, comes with an innocuous little making-of featurette, trailers and optional subtitles. For some reason, the chapter selection did not work on my copy.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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