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Labor Pains
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by Jack Sommersby

"It's a 'Pain', Alright"
1 stars

It's really no fun putting the overexposed Lohan down when one of her own films does just that -- and in spades!

The so-called comedy Labor Pains is such unredeemable, IQ-insulting garbage that I can't imagine even the few remaining die-hard Lindsay Lohan fans out there even remotely tolerating it. For a sometimes-appealing but limited actress who keeps claiming she wants to be taken seriously by Hollywood, she's doing herself no favors in signing on to such dire projects like this that not even the grown-up cast of Diff'rent Strokes would be caught dead in. What we have here is basically another of those so-old-it's-hairy coming-of-age tales where an irresponsible early-twentysomething learns to better her professional and personal life by realizing and following through on her talent at work and sensibly prioritizing her domestic responsibilities. Lohan's Thea is a usually-tardy secretary for the president of a small Los Angeles book-publishing firm, and the older sister and sole breadwinner of the household ever since her parents were killed in a car crash a year prior. Thea can't stand her boss, and it's easy to see why: he's always having her clean up after the beloved dog he takes to the office, and when it's acting goofy he demands she book a room for it at one of those only-in-L.A. upscale animal-psychiatrist getaways. When she's overheard in the women's restroom complaining about him, he decides to fire her; but, thinking quickly, she lies that she's pregnant, and he grudgingly holds off in fear of a lawsuit. Conveniently, he goes out of town and the younger next-senior man temporarily takes over; and, wouldn't you know, he and Thea find out through some trials and tribulations that they're in love. The Originality Open this is not.

Still, things might have been tolerable if there were enough in the way of laughs and charm. Alas, Lohan is nondescript, the supporting cast just as second-rate, and too much of the humor is of the bottom-of-the-barrel flatulence variety. There's not so much as a single solitary moment when we're glad watching this rather than, say, the latest Sumo wrestling contest. This, of course, is what happens when just any filmmaker of dubious talent is given those screenplay/directorial reins -- the one in this case being the mostly-novice Lara Shapiro, who doesn't know how to use the camera expressively, to instill the necessary bounce that most comedies need, and to actually build characterizations through good dialogue and revealing interactions; rather, she dishes out the odiously obvious at each and every turn, and with the flair of a drunken snail. (And is it just me or does it come off as more than a wee bit racist that Thea's initially agreeable Korean boyfriend is tiredly turned into an uncouth pain-in-the-neck in the second half just so whitey can take his place?) Lohan's heavily-panned Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen wasn't exactly the greatest thing since widescreen DVDs, but it was bubbly and surprisingly adequate in way more departments than Labor Pains and didn't carry around the same killjoy sense of shame (that irresponsible girl's just gotta get responsible!). We're not even afforded a good-looking production, at that -- in the all-thumbs hands of cinematographer Dan Stoloff, this whole mess boasts all the professional sheen of one of those bland '70s TV movies. Speaking of which, if Lohan doesn't wish banishment to the bowels of public television on a permanent basis (this is her first film to debut on TV) she needs either a better agent or better taste in scripts or -- in a nutshell -- both. As her career's unfortunately playing out, she's on the brink of being the next Tara Reid or Sarah Michelle Gellar, and that ain't the kind of company any aspiring, self-respectful actress would wish to keep.

The kind of career-derailer that "Norbit" was for Eddie Murphy.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19368&reviewer=327
originally posted: 09/04/09 16:15:33
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User Comments

7/29/09 Knightfox21 I was surprisingly entertained! SO glad to see LiLo back!! 4 stars
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  N/A (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-Aug-2009



Directed by
  Lara Shapiro

Written by
  Lara Shapiro

  Lindsay Lohan
  Chris Parnell

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