Dane Cook plays a dentist in Good Luck Chuck, but the movie plays that part straight. Having had braces, three tooth extractions, three bone graphs, and three dental implants, I can say with relative ease that none of that was as painful as watching this pathetic waste of celluloid. The film is like the manifestation of every horrible cliché that has plagued the ill-fated genre of the romantic comedy. That the film even tries to be heartfelt is egregious in itself, but “good luck” finding it among the horrendously executed slapstick, equally disastrous gross-out humor, blatant racism, homophobia, and scorn for everyone else (the overweight, the elderly, etc.).
As the film opens, young Charlie Logan (Connor Price) is playing a game of spin the bottle with his buddies and a group of girls. Charlie winds up with the goth (Sasha Pieterse) and refuses to make out with her, so she puts a hex on him. The gist: whomever sleeps with Charlie will find the love of her life soon after. Now an adult, Charlie (Cook) only becomes aware of this fact at a wedding ceremony for one of his old mates. She calls him the “good luck charm” and soon dozens of women start lining up to whore themselves out in the hopes of finding their true love soon after.
I could write a decent-sized collegiate dissertation on just how bad the plot is, but I’ll spare you. It gets even worse as Charlie meets Cam (Alba), a total klutz (her friends call her “Murphy” for Murphy’s Law…ho ho) who plays with penguins (what we need in the movies these days are more penguins) all day for living. She’s a klutz like a penguin! Get it? But the moral dilemma begs to be recognized: if Charlie sleeps with Cam, won’t she move on and find her soul mate? Don’t kid yourself.
Mark Helfrich is making his directorial debut here after an extensive career in the editor’s chair, and he clearly hates us. The only logical explanation is that this is extreme anger finally venting out after editing such films as Showgirls, Money Talks, and the Rush Hour series. Virtually every scene is shoddily assembled, with zero energy, and at least a half dozen have no punch line at all. Helfrich and screenwriter Josh Stolberg (working from a short story by Steve Glenn, which, even if it were bound sheets of blank paper, couldn’t be as bad as this product) are banking solely on the idea that we will find Jessica Alba constantly falling down uproarious and Dane Cook flailing around a great companion piece.
Dane Cook is everywhere these days, and I won’t go so far as to say that he’s never been funny. But here he basically sells his soul for nothing. While he gets a few well-timed chuckles in the first half, he goes on to commit one of the most intolerable bouts of overacting ever put on film in the movie’s latter half. He has no chemistry whatsoever with Jessica Alba, who continues to do maddeningly bad films. She’s far from a great actress, but she deserves better than this. Dan Fogler, who recently got some laughs from me in Balls of Fury, tests everyone’s patience as Charlie’s buddy, the breast implant surgeon. You can guess each gag from here.
“Comedies” as truly awful and misguided as Good Luck Chuck don’t come around but once a year, and it will take a true cinematic crime against humanity for anything to top this. It continues to amaze just how seldom the romantic comedy is made right. All you need are a few likable characters and a semblance of a brain. We all know how they end, and we’re fine with it. Good Luck Chuck fails on all criteria, and it’s one of the worst films of the year.
Studio: Lions Gate Films
Length: 96 Minutes
Rating: R for sequences of strong sexual content including crude dialogue, nudity, language and some drug use.
Theatrical Release: September 21, 2007
Directed by: Mark Helfrich
Written by: Josh Stolberg. Based on the short story by Steve Glenn.
Cast: Jessica Alba, Dane Cook, Dan Fogler, Michelle Harrison, Ellia English, Carrie Fleming