A Very Unlucky Leprechaun (1998)

A Very Unlucky Leprechaun DVD CoverMolly’s life is full of sad backstory that you normally only find in routine country music songs. Her mom died (a mother’s survival rate in so-called “kid friendly” leprechaun movies like this always approaches zero) and then she is forced to move to an old cursed relative’s home in Ireland because her loser dad Howard can’t seem to sell his newest “how to” book and went and lost their house. Of course, it turns out that there is a significant amount of back taxes owed on the house in Ireland which Howard also can’t afford. Maybe for his next “how to” book Howard should write about the wisdom of staying in America and just renting an apartment.

The house does come equipped with a drunken gardener, a leprechaun, an eligible interior decorator (who does the worst job of interior decorating in the history of interior decorating on the house) and an evil mayor who for some reason is in charge of collecting the back taxes on the house and for far more obvious reasons is named McGreedy.

McGreedy wants to force Howard out of the house so that he can demolish it and build something a bit more profitable than a run down house whose owners can’t pay the taxes on. But one thing is standing in McGreedy’s way – the lucrative go kart race with a purse of 5000 pounds! Why, if Molly could somehow win that, that would almost pay for less than half what is owed! But two things are standing between her and outdoor karting immortality – McGreedy’s evil sons!

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The build up to the big race is booked just like you would expect. McGreedy’s sons bully Molly in the lunchroom which results in Molly being blamed and made to scrub a toilet with a toothbrush. Then there’s the food fight on the playground which is blamed on Molly and results in her suspension. Finally, when Molly is test driving her trashy looking go-kart (her dad’s idea of helping her was to give her one of his lame “how to” books), one of the McGreedy kids cut the brake lines which causes her to almost run over her dad’s new girlfriend!

Perhaps realizing he is never going to be getting any ass if his old lady has tire marks across her head, Howard embarks on a montage to help Molly build her go-kart. The interior decorator girlfriend even gets into the act, painting the go-kart and christening it the “Rainbow Racer” complete with matching helmet. Once you’re done laughing at how awful it all is, you quickly realize that all women, no matter their ages, really do secretly hate each other.

If you’re thinking this sounds like an awesome movie about kart racing, but what the hell happened to the damn leprechaun, don’t worry because he’s been trying to help Molly out the whole time! And failing!

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Because he hasn’t eaten a four leaf clover in a long time, he’s the titular unlucky leprechaun. It shouldn’t be much of spoiler to folks well versed in unlucky leprechaun lore to know that his helping Molly during the race after the McGreedy’s used their James Bond go karts to slime her tires by flying her go-kart over part of the course totally backfired. And not just because the special effects of the flying go-kart were almost as a diabolically bad as when you could see the string holding up the magic talking starfish, but because it got her disqualified because nobody saw her at a check point! I know! Can you believe it? There was a talking starfish in the movie! That wasn’t even advertised!

But just when it seems like she’s going to be killed by McGreedy’s wrecking ball as he demolishes the house for unpaid taxes, she wakes up to discover all those dimwitted adventures didn’t really happen, but instead happened in the bad children’s book her father wrote for her!

Is there anything more satisfying than watching a tediously dumb movie, only to find out it was all just a story a father made up for his daughter who was lying in a coma following an unfortunate pigpen accident? Only to see that after she wakes up, it all really does happen (to the movie’s everlasting credit, it repeats everything very fast), just like one of those premonitions in the Final Destination series of films, except inexplicably, the bad parts? And much like in those films, watching Molly lamely attempt to recite her lines with the ability of a kid who shouldn’t have even had a speaking role in her sixth grade Christmas pagent, you will wish your feeling that it was all like a nail gun being unloaded repeatedly into your head would come horribly true!

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The only thing in A Very Unlucky Leprechaun that doesn’t reek of low budget and low effort is Warwick Davis as the leprechaun named Lucky. But in a telling display of how inept it all was, Lucky’s involvement seemed entirely marginal and didn’t have any real impact on the story of Molly and her father getting along or of them saving the house.

The most magical, fantastical thing about all of this is that there was a sequel, The White Pony, released a year later. Surely, it was the luck of the Irish that replacing everyone except Lucky and adding kickboxing legend Olivier Gruner as a dad who runs a horse farm somehow resulted in a marginally more competent experience.

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