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IRISH WISH

I Netflix Canada I March 15, 2024 I

Starring:  Lindsay Lohan, Ayesha Curry, Ed Speleers, Alexander Vlahos, Jane Seymour, Elizabeth Tan, Jacinta Mulcahy

Directed By: Janeen Damian

Maddie's dream guy is days away from marrying her best friend when a wish for true love made on an ancient stone in Ireland magically alters her fate.

REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

RATING 3.5 out of 5

Irish Wish is a magically delightful romantic comedy experience thanks to wonderful romantic chemistry between its two leads Lindsay Lohan and Ed Speleers, that is bundled up nicely with the gorgeous Irish countryside and a charming story that delivers everything fans of the genre want to see in a romantic comedy.

 

Just like Lindsay Lohan, romantic comedies are having a renaissance moment. It’s not even three months into the year, and we have a third wonderful addition to the genre hot on the heels of last month’s Upgraded and the Canadian romantic comedy French Girl, which also releases this week. And with Lohan once again gracing our screens, it's impossible not to get excited about Irish Wish. It’s only natural that Lohan continues her return to acting and following up 2022’s Falling For Christmas, an utterly cheesy Hallmark-esque streaming film, with a more classic feeling romantic comedy that really lets her showcase her acting chops. From the second the film begins, writer Kirsten Hansen and director Janeen Damian understand the assignment, know exactly what the audience wants from this type of film, and deliver exactly that in spades ensuring for a blissfully romantic experience from start to finish that will have audiences simultaneously laughing out loud and feeling the romantic passion of the story.

 

If you’re a fan of Lohan, there is no question that you are going to enjoy her in Irish Wish. She is her bubbly, sweet and charming self as Maddie, the editor travelling to Ireland for her friend’s wedding… who happens to be marrying the man of her dreams. Of all the characters she has portrayed, Maddie might be the most independent and strong willed character that Lohan has ever had, and Lohan is everything the role needs and more. She never misses a beat during the comedy bits, shining with some great physical comedy moments, instantly reminding you why she became a household name all those years ago. Ed Speleers is perfect as James, the young photographer that Maddie begins falling for. He possesses the natural charisma and chivalrous charm that makes it easy to see why Maddie would slowly begin to fall for him, as well as a more brash side that creates the initial friction between his character and Maddie. As a romantic pairing, the sparks immediately fly between Lohan and Speleers and their chemistry elevates the film. There is an undeniable connection between Lohan and Speleers built on mutual trust and attraction that feels real and magical at every turn, their interactions on screen are fun and playful while you can feel the passionate desire for each other bubbling just below the surface, ensuring that you can’t help but root for them to end up together by the end of the film.

 

The supporting cast for the film is good, each of them becoming the characters they are portraying. Alexander Vlahos captures the vein and privileged writer that is Paul Kennedy, Ayesha Curry and Elizabeth Tan are fun as Maddie’s best friends Heather and Emma, while Matty McCabe brings some funny moments to the mix as Paul’s brother Kory. But it is Jane Seymour who outshines them all as Maddie’s mother Rosemary. Seymour delivers killer laugh after laugh as Rosemary as she imparts her wisdom on her daughter, fully capitalizing on the small amount of screen time she has, though I would have loved for her to have a larger role as she was an outstanding addition to the film.

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There is nothing you haven’t seen before in countless other romantic comedies that is present in Irish Wish: a wish that gives our lead character what they believe to be their perfect life that takes them on a journey of self discovery, your best friend stealing the man of your dreams, and the charming and handsome love interest that starts off as off putting but has a heart of gold. Through and through, Irish Wish is predictable and cheesy; there is no secret as to how the story is going to end, but Hansen makes the film all about the journey of getting to Maddie’s happy ending. We get a memorable meet cute, lots of great comedic bits, romantic escapades, and that swoon worthy sequence at the pub that Maddie and James spend the night at. It’s all orchestrated to have you laughing throughout the film, while simultaneously pulling on your heartstrings as you watch Maddie learn what her heart truly desires, ensuring that you will have a big smile on your face by the end of the film while feeling all warm and cozy. If you don’t enjoy romantic comedies to begin with, you will be rolling your eyes throughout Irish Wish, but if you are a fan of the genre, this is the film you have been looking for.

 

It’s easy to have a beautiful looking film when you shoot on location in Ireland. There is a magical essence with the beautiful green fields, the ocean just sitting off the cliffs, and the remnants of medieval architecture that makes it the perfect location for a romantic comedy to be made. The cinematography captures the colour, vibrancy and life of each location, from the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, the idyllic Lough Tay, and the grand and elegant Killruddery House and gardens doubling as Paul Kennedy’s family estate, creating one stunning visual adventure. There is no better way to describe it other than a fairytale come to life on screen, which only fuels the romance building over the course of the film between Lohan’s Maddie and Speleers' James. The costume and set design is exquisite, mixing the elegance of the Kennedy family, the fashionista that is Lohan, and the rustic rural Ireland reserved for James and the locations he takes Maddie. And when combined with a magical and romantic musical score from Nathan Lanier that combines traditional Irish instruments, rhythms and motifs to help elevate the atmosphere of the film, and a great soundtrack including a wonderful needle drop of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” during the rehearsal dinner, the filmmaking team perfectly captures the essence of the classic romantic comedy with each camera frame.


Movies can take you on a trip from the comfort of your own home, and Irish Wish takes viewers on a magical trip to the beautiful country of Ireland that is whimsical in all the best ways. And without question, Lindsay Lohan’s second collaboration with Netflix makes for another hit romantic comedy for the streamer that will no doubt have high viewership this weekend, especially given the Ireland connection just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. From gorgeous shots of the Irish countryside, sizzling romantic chemistry between the film’s stars Lindsay Lohan and Ed Speleers, and a story that touches on all the best elements of the romantic comedy genre, it is truly impossible to not fall in love with Irish Wish.

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