Good Luck Chuck (2007) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, crude dialogue, nudity, language, and some drug use
Running time: 96 min.
Cast: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Elia English, Sasha Pieterse, Lonny Ross, Chelan Simmons
Director: Mark Helfrich
Screenplay: Josh Stolberg (based on the short story by Steve Glenn)
Review published October 4, 2007
Dane Cook (Mr. Brooks, Employee of the Month) stars as dentist Charlie Logan, who as a kid was hexed by a goth girl with a crush (rejected by Charlie) that any girl he'd be with would think the next guy she dates is the man of her dreams. Once word is spread about Charlie's reputation for being the catalyst of surefire romantic bliss, he can't keep the women away no matter how hard he tries. Save one, the klutzy but beautiful Cam Wexler (Alba, FF2), a penguin expert at the local aquarium who has a thing for Charlie, but doesn't want to get hurt by getting too close given his promiscuity. He finally meets the woman he is sure is for him, but the blamed curse fills him with doubt that he'll lose the only woman he's ever cared about, and once she finds another, she will be gone for good.
Good Luck Chuck will easily rank among the worst comedies of 2007. It's exceedingly crass, juvenile, and worst of all, there's hardly a laugh among the ceaseless boob jokes, pot gags, pratfalls, and cartoonish coital action. The level of bad taste drowns out the romance, as the screenplay by Josh Stolberg (Kids in America) knows one mode -- injection of laughs without anything funny to say, no matter how forced he must make it. If a scene needs five laughs, he'll have Alba bump her head, Cook make a funny face, Fogler (Balls of Fury) will say something excessively crude about tits or masturbation (or both), Ross will take a hit of pot, and Alba will fall on her ass. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
This is no Farrelly Brothers comedy, to say the least. It's a shameless disaster, riding a one-note, high concept gimmick from beginning to end without finding a clever or funny angle once it is established. If the only thing you have going for your movie is a "clever" hook, but you can't back it up with at least one scene that utilizes the hook for genuine laughs, you don't have a movie. This is a slavishly predictable treatment made by people who obviously hate their own characters, willingly putting them through inane scenarios to embarrass them without mercy, with the thought that we'll laugh at anything involving someone getting hurt, getting jilted, or getting it on. That and as many dispiriting gags against anyone who isn't a thin bimbo with fake breasts. Fat jokes can be funny if the target is established as deserving of ridicule, but their use here encroaches into offensiveness.
As is typical of gimmick movies, the more the premise of Good Luck Chuck was explained, the more questions I had. It is without fail that the women fall in love with the next guy that they date, but how does this also carry over to the men that they date? We are introduced to a character that Chuck sleeps with in order to test the curse, a woman so unattractive and without manners that no one would dare take her as his own. Of course, she finds someone immediately afterward, despite the fact that, with the exception of Chuck, she probably hasn't had a date in years, if ever. Are we to believe that she found another man the next day by sheer coincidence? And why does he fall in love with her in turn -- is he bound by the spell too?
Perhaps boys just learning about the changes in their bodies will enjoy the constant cheesecake Maxim models who traverse through this film half-naked, and the plethora of surprisingly graphic sex scenes that earn their way into at least one lengthy montage of near-pornographic proportions, but any adult with even a smidgeon of knowledge about such things as wit and style will find Good Luck Chuck a veritable wasteland of ideas. One thing it's not is a waste of talent, as Cook and Alba are terrible actors whose looks and name recognition seem to be the only predominant factor in giving them starring roles these days. Meanwhile, an overbearing Fogler looks like a bloated Tim Curry, if you sucked out all of his talent and charisma.
It's not funny enough to be declared a comedy, not romantic enough to be a romance, and not sexy enough to qualify as a sex romp. Good Luck Chuck is a film that one might only imagine seeing because of clever advertising that makes it look like it could be at least passable as any one of the three. Of course, anyone who sees it is going to be in for quite a surprise, as it's level of crudeness is only matched by its level of sappiness, which are almost always two elements that cancel out one another, even among demographics that heavily enjoy at least one of them. The only thing resembling anything good happens to be the appearance of the word in the title. Chuck this one out in the nearest waste container before consuming.
©2007 Vince Leo