Irish Wish - yet another inadequate Irish romcom

It’s wishful thinking to expect much originality from Netflix’s latest

Lindsay Lohan making a phone call sitting on the floor in the movie Irish Wish
Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly in the Netflix movie Irish Wish (Patrick Redmond/Netflix) (Patrick Redmond / Netflix )

THERE’S nowhere quite like the Emerald Isle with its lush green landscapes, stunning ocean views and quaint villages all steeped in Celtic mythology. Ireland undoubtably possesses an air of enchantment.

With such charming characteristics it would be safe to assume the island would provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic comedy such as Lindsay Lohan’s latest Netflix offering Irish Wish.

However, romcoms set in Ireland have historically tended to fall flat, examples include 2010′s Leap Year starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode and more recently Wild Mountain Thyme released in 2020 and featuring Emily Blunt and Northern Ireland’s own Jamie Dornan. Unfortunately, Irish Wish is yet another unremarkable movie which is likely to leave audiences underwhelmed.

Lindsay Lohan in Irish Wish (Patrick Redmond / Netflix )

Lohan plays protagonist Maddie Kelly, a hot shot book editor, who falls madly in love with her client, Irish author Paul Kennedy (Alexander Vlahos) but in typical romcom fashion she struggles to confess her feelings.

Like many female leads in this genre, Lohan’s character is clumsy and a little awkward – a well-used and rather obvious attempt to make the character more relatable, endearing and likeable.

However, she plays the perpetual girl-next-door role well, still possessing the warmth, charm and charisma that made audiences fall in love with her almost 25 years ago when she starred in Disney’s remake of The Parent Trap.

In the lengthy opener we see a similar 27 Dresses-style disaster unfold where, despite Maddie pining for Paul, it’s her friend he falls for after she introduces them (rookie mistake).

Later we see Maddie travelling to Ireland for their wedding where she meets handsome English photographer James Thomas (Ed Speleers) whom she seems to instantly dislike for no obvious reason other than to perhaps introduce a sense of tension.

James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan walking on a cliff top smiling
Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly in Irish Wish (Netflix)

She then proceeds to make a wish on an ancient Irish stone where she asks to be the bride to be instead of her best friend. This predictably alters her fate once her wish is granted - giving her what she wants but not necessarily what she needs.

It is very much a ‘does what it says on the tin’ type of film which is further reinforced by the fact the movie starts with an on-screen definition of what constitutes a wish. However, the Irish element seems to be carelessly shoe-horned into the plot especially as the main character is American, one of her love interests is English and although the other is supposedly Irish, Vlahos’s execution of the accent is less than convincing.

Given the release date the movie is clearly meant to serve as a St Patrick’s Day seasonal offering but it’s about as Irish as a box of Lucky Charms – sickly and unsatisfying.

Aside from the stunning scenery the Irish references are incredibly stereotypical, for instance, the scene where Lohan sips a Guinness in a ‘traditional’ Irish pub before partaking in an impromptu Irish céilí.

Lohan and Speleers however have great on-screen chemistry and both give solid performances. Although at times their on-screen relationship is overshadowed by the constant meddling of magical Irish woman Saint Brigid (Dawn Bradfield). Her character spends the movie throwing various magical obstacles at the pair in order to get them closer together which, despite adding to the humour, interferes with the organic element of the central love story.

Speleers easily portrays the classic romcom heartthrob - a mysterious nomad with a truckload of emotional baggage which only the right woman can help to unpack.

As with other romcoms, this movie follows a similar formula culminating in a happy ending which makes it familiar and comforting. Irish Wish is certainly easy viewing but there was nothing about it that felt new or fresh unlike previous Netflix romcoms like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before which was both interesting and original or Rebel Wilson’s satirical romcom Isn’t It Romantic which pokes fun at the very thing Irish Wish is trying to portray.