Irish Wish is like the perfect Netflix algorithm science experiment. It’s a romantic comedy not released at Valentine’s Day but to capitalise on a different holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a travelogue in the sense that it’s set in Ireland, with part of it taking place at one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations, the Cliffs of Moher. And it stars a woman who might be in our consciousness a bit in 2024, as it’s been 20 years since her most beloved film, Mean Girls, was released, and two months since she appeared in a cameo in the remake of that film.


Of course, the most Netflix thing about it might be that it was cheaply produced with sub-par materials. Netflix is not known for cheap production, as it spends plenty of money when it wants to, but to keep up the sheer quantity of content without breaking the bank, you need a couple dozen quickies per year like this one. Anyone who shows up to see the one-time trainwreck known as Lindsay Lohan, to see what she still has left in the tank, may be a little disappointed — whether they’re tuning in to see her fail or to see her succeed. She holds her own, even if she doesn’t contribute the sort of extra special something that once allowed her to captivate our affections. Anyone who shows up for a little dose of Valentine’s Day a month after Valentine’s Day might be perfectly satisfied, though, since they probably aren’t asking much of the film in the first place.

Lohan plays Maddie Kelly, a book editor (is there any other job in romantic comedies?) infatuated with the author whom she edits, Paul Kennedy (Alexander Vlahos). She might do a little bit more than edit the books, but is not getting credit as a co-author. This doesn’t prevent her from crushing big time on the man, feeling their relationship is about to become romantic right at the moment that her friend, Emma (Elizabeth Tan), catches Paul’s eye. Only a few short months later, Emma and Paul are getting married in Paul’s native Ireland and Maddie is along as a reluctant bridesmaid.

Unable to squelch her jealousy and her wishes that her life were going differently, Maddie makes a literal wish on a so-called wishing chair near the estate where she’s staying. That’s with the assistance of St. Brigid, who shows up to grant the wish: “I wish I were marrying Paul Kennedy.” All the sudden Maddie is putting on a wedding dress she’s never worn before, and trying to figure out the details of a courtship she never had. Of course, the self-centred Paul is not her actual soulmate. That’s the photographer whose bag she had tried to take at the airport, thinking it was hers, who is going to be coerced into photographing the wedding and is going to get stranded with her on an expedition in the countryside that makes them realise they love each other. (His name is James Thomas and he’s played by Ed Speleers.)

If this scenario promises to present good opportunities both for clever narrative flourishes and for Lohan to showcase the gifts for physical comedy she once possessed, that’s overestimating the ambition of Janeen Damian’s film. (Janeen Damian is the wife of former 80s singer and heartthrob Michael Damian, who serves as a producer on Irish Wish.) The movie gives more than the minimum required for this sort of trifle, but not a lot more. It’s almost as though if Lohan is being reintroduced to us, it can only be done so tentatively, with an unspoken apology about the sort of presence she’s been in public life these past 15 years. One wonders if an untainted Lohan would have been one of the more enduring stars of her generation, with still ten more good years of lead roles, rather than a pariah trying to find her comedic timing. She’s not without charm, but it’s certainly not in the vicinity of enough charm to drag this movie above its weak core.


One of the film’s more comical gestures toward credibility is to sign Jane Seymour to play Maddie’s mother, but then to give her nothing to do. Probably because they didn’t want to fly Seymour to Ireland, she never makes it out of Des Moines, Iowa, having hurt herself at the airport and only ever appearing on the phone with Maddie. Score another for the Netflix algorithm.


If you are reading this without having seen the film, you have already failed to reward Netflix with a viewing of Irish Wish on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. But you are one of the only ones, as the site claims that it is currently #2 in movies. There are a lot of romantic comedy fans out there, and a lot who want to see Lindsay Lohan make good. Maybe this movie will give her the chance to really do so the next time out — probably in another Netflix quickie.


Irish Wish is currently streaming on Netflix.

3 / 10