September 23, 2007

Movie Review: Good Luck Chuck

Now, if you expected this movie to be any good, you're kidding yourself. I went into this expecting it to be pretty bad. I went in hoping to get a few chuckles, and perhaps be surprised by something passable. Unfortunately, Good Luck Chuck fails to provide many laughs, tells a predictable tale, and proves something I suspected for some time: Dane Cook is not that funny. It is pretty easy to see where this one went wrong, it is even easier to see why it kept going wrong. Good Luck Chuck is a movie that revels in the crass and vulgarity. Where a lighter touch could have made this a mildly entertaining, the decision was made to layer on some more nudity and vulgarity.

Before getting to the movie itself, something has to be said about the advertising for it. The marketing campaign seems to have changed mid-stream. The early commercials all played off of Dane Cook and the idea of any girl that sleeps with him will then find their true love in the next person they meet. They also indicate that Jessica Alba's character was his true love and he has to avoid sleeping with her, lest he lose her forever. Then the commercials changed. No longer was Cook at the center. The focus shifted to Jessica Alba and her character's klutziness. I can only assume that the Cook-centric ads were not faring all that well in their test groups. It was strange how the ad campaign moved away from the central plot point and onto the focus of the lead's attentions. I guess I cannot fault them too much, I sure do like seeing more of Jessica Alba and less of Dane Cook on my television screen!

Now for the feature film.

Good Luck Chuck starts in 1985, Charlie Logan (aka the titular Chuck) is playing spin the bottle. When his turn comes up, his spin lands on a goth chick. once locked in the closet, the girl professes her love for young Charlie. He spurns her, and she casts a hex on him which will forever deprive him of love. She says any girl that he is with will find true love with the next guy. Fast forward to the present day, Charlie is a successful dentist and has his best friend, Stu (Dan Balls of Fury Fogler), works across the hall as plastic surgeon who apparently specializes in breast augmentation. The comedy almost writes itself.

Anyway, Stu checks into Chuck's recent lady friends and discovers that they are all married. While attending the wedding of one his exes, the bride calls him her lucky charm. Well, that does it. The secret is out. Someone makes a post about him on regarding his charm status and Chuck's life will never be the same. Women begin showing up at his office by the score. Always at his side, Stu is there to encourage him to enjoy the sexual escapades that have availed themselves to him.

Chuck is somewhat enjoying himself, but his mind keeps going back to the woman he met at the wedding I mentioned earlier. Her name is Cam (Jessica Alba), and she is a klutz. She also happens to be a penguin freak who works at the aquarium. Anyway, the two start a relationship, Chuck falls for her, but does not want her to become a casualty of his curse. He avoids sleeping with her, becomes afraid of losing her, smothers her, drives her away, and wins her back in the end. The End.

Yes, I know that last bit gives away what is going to happen, but could you see it going any other way? There is nothing special about what happens. Good Luck Chuck follows all of the standard romantic comedy clich├ęs, nothing new is explored. The only thing that is different is the high concept at the core of it. It is too bad that it is a mere plot device which does not pay off, nor is it really dealt with all that well. The only thing that could have saved this would have been the characters. They don't.

Dane Cook is just not funny, at least he isn't funny here. I think he has some potential. He was fine in Mr. Brooks, and he looks to be fine in Dan in Real Life. As a leading man, well, let's just say that he isn't ready for it. He is betrayed by a weak script that mistakes crassness for comedy and fails to inject any heart. On the plus side, Jessica Alba looks more at home here than she did in Fantastic Four, but that may have more to do with the lack of blonde hair and blue eyes here. Completing the troika is Dan Fogler who handled himself well as the comedic sidekick. He has some of the more humorous lines, and comes out mostly unscathed.

Bottomline. This is not an awful movie, but it is really not all that good. The high concept was not well thought out, the script has no substance, and the lead performance is flat and humorless. I think that about sums it up. Alba is fine, she is not the best actress but she always looks good. This fails to live up to the high bar set by R-rated comedies earlier this year (Knocked Up and Superbad).

Not Recommended.


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