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Slate's Summary Judgment: 'Just My Luck,' 'Poseidon,' 'Keeping Up with the Steins'


If movies are on your weekend menu, theatres are serving up a sugary teen comedy and a hearty disaster flick. For our regular roundup of what the critics are saying about new films, here's Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's summary judgments.

Ms. MARK JORDAN LEGAN reporting:

First up in wide release we have the romantic comedy, Just My Luck. Former teen star Lindsay Lohan moves into her first adult role as a successful career woman who shares a kiss with a young man who has nothing but bad luck and, bam, their fortunes switch. Chris Pine stars as the unlucky guy with suddenly good luck.

(Soundbite of movie Just My Luck)

Unidentified Actress: (As character) So was it a normal kiss or a supernatural tingling in your toes, butterflies in your tummy sort of kiss?

Ms. LINDSAY LOHAN (Actress) (As character) It was enough to get him to ask me on another date.

LEGAN: The nation's critics feel like this one earned them seven years bad luck. Even though the Hollywood Reporter coos, Lohan and Pine make a charming star-crossed couple, the Seattle Post Intelligencer growls, The film is a deserted wasteland when it comes to funny. It's also boring. While many agree with Variety, which observes Just My Luck plays like a focus group compilation of everything a 12-year old girl could want in a Lindsay Lohan movie.

Next up in limited release is the comedy, Keeping Up With the Steins. Directed by Gary Marshall's son, Scott Marshall, it stars Jeremy Piven and Larry Miller as two competitive fathers determined to outdo each other by throwing their sons the greatest Bar Mitzvah ever.

(Soundbite of movie Keeping Up With the Steins)

Mr. LARRY MILLER (Actor): (As character) Listen, I got your invitation. It's at Dodgers Stadium.

Mr. JEREMY PIVEN (Actor): (As character) Yeah.

Mr. MILLER: Ambitious Bar Mitvah.

Mr. PIVEN: Thank you very much. Hey, Raylene.

LEGAN: Critics pretty much say oy vey to this bar mitzvah satire. Variety raises a glass and toasts, A surefire crowd pleaser, but Newsday complains, Keeping up with the Steins is full of contrivance and confection, and the Chicago Tribune fetches, The movie hasn't the nerve to offend anyone, yet it hasn't the flavor of warm-hearted comfort food.

And we close with the action thriller Poseidon, the remake of the popular 1972 disaster flick, The Poseidon Adventure. This time around, instead of Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine, you have Kurt Russell and Josh Lucas, and attempting to pull off a true nautical trifecta is Director Wolfgang Peterson, who has also made Das Boot and The Perfect Storm.

Richard Dreyfuss also stars.

(Soundbite of movie Poseidon)

Unidentified Actor: (As character) Now, we're not sure exactly what happened here. But our best guess is that we were struck by what is known as a rogue wave. They're rare, they're unpredictable, and they are lethal.

LEGAN: The critics all like the dazzling effects, but many complain about the soggy script. Entertainment Weekly gurgles, An excellently undemanding, swimmingly enjoyable remake, but USA Today moans, Poseidon is a sodden saga with a script awash in clichés, and the San Francisco Chronicle treads water a bit by adding, Exciting and nerve-wracking in the moment, but empty.

And for those of you wondering what it's really like on those big ships, for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, my whole family, brothers, sisters, cousins, went on a 10-day cruise together. By the third day, I was wishing for a tidal wave.

BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mark Jordan Legan