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Overall Rating
1.87

Awesome: 2.56%
Worth A Look: 7.69%
Average: 17.95%
Pretty Bad: 17.95%
Total Crap53.85%

4 reviews, 15 user ratings


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Good Luck Chuck
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"That this is average says bad things about the state of romantic comedy."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL: It's instructive to examine the advertising for "Good Luck Chuck". The posters are as generic as can be, just Dane Cook and Jessica Alba standing next to each other. The first trailers laid out the story and featured a lot of Cook, but the recent ads are almost entirely Jessica Alba acting goofy. Why? Well, people like pretty girls, slapstick and penguins; emphasizing the pretty girl doing slapstick with penguins must surely make a middling film look irresistible!

Fair warning: Those bits are, in general, from fairly early in the film, before it settles into a bit of a rut and flounders because its high concept - that because of a hex laid on him when he was ten, any woman who has sex with Dane Cook's Charlie will meet her true love after they break up - isn't nearly as funny as it sounds. He actually meets Alba's Cam Wexler at the wedding of one of his exes, and they click right off, but when Charlie finally finds out that there's this curse on him, he sets out to test it, and his panic winds up creeping Cam the heck out.

The big problem here is that Charlie just isn't that interesting, especially compared with Cam. Just look at where they live; Charlie's got a blandly nice house while Cam's place is kind of funky both outside and in (she really likes penguins). Charlie's defining characteristic initially is that his relationships go south, but the only one we see is right at the start, so it doesn't say much about his personality. He's a nice guy, basically, so much so that his decision to take advantage of his supposed curse (he doesn't believe in it, but so long as the women around him do...) seems out of character, and actually makes us like him a bit less. It's also a problem story-wise: Charlie doesn't actually have to grow over the course of the movie; he's already good to women and a little mopey over the shallowness of his relationships, so the logical path of the story would be figuring out how to end the curse, but that's barely a factor.

What does work? Dane Cook and Jessica Alba are actually an enjoyable pairing. They banter nicely during their meet-cute at the wedding and when disaster seems to inevitably follow Alba's Cam early on, his mild alarm complements her cheerful acceptance of what happens to her and apologies for what happens to him (this has happened to her all her life and she's used to it) nicely. Most of writer Josh Stolberg's previous credits are stuff for kids, which probably explains why kids show up so often in a comedy that is so off-handedly raunchy and are used pretty well (the game of spin the bottle that opens the movie is perhaps my favorite example of both these traits). And the ending, while a bit predictable, is cute.

That's what makes the filler around the good parts so frustrating. There's a "Charlie screws a morbidly obese woman to test the curse" segment that goes on forever, is not very funny, and is uncharacteristically mean both on the surface and underneath. The women who come to Charlie to take advantage of his hex/curse/charm are also a strange case - the two we meet and talk to come across as sympathetic and individual, but the montage of weird phone messages, bare breasts, and comedic sexual positions that follow basically just feeds the "women want to get married at any cost!" stereotype. The one-note sidekick characters are just lazy writing: Cam's brother Joe (Lonny Ross) is a stoner who does embarrassing things; Charlie's friend Stu (Dan Fogler) is a breast-obsessed cosmetic surgeon who unfailingly says the crudest thing possible. And, of course, once the movie starts to focus on Charlie's "emotional growth", suddenly Cam gets much less clumsy.

I didn't hate "Good Luck Chuck"; I didn't even really dislike it. Even when one of the jokes scores a hit, though, I always felt like the movie could, and should, be funnier - that if everybody put the same amount of effort into their work that Ms. Alba did, there would be a really funny movie here, rather than a kind-of-amusing one.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16634&reviewer=371
originally posted: 09/21/07 13:15:53
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Boston Film Festival For more in the 2007 Boston Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/17/16 David H. So bad, its even worse 1 stars
6/03/10 User Name I never thought there was something actually less funny than Dane Cook's stand up. 1 stars
12/17/09 ken BURN IT BURN IT BURN IT!!! NOW 1 stars
8/13/09 Dan I actually like Dane Cook but this is mostly mediocre. 3 stars
2/09/09 mark dedasco pretty ok 4 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Flick!! 4 stars
8/11/08 Jon G Hate It! Hate It! Dane Cook Sucks as a actor! 1 stars
2/04/08 Veronica Jarvis Campy...silly movie...maybe rent, but definately don't buy! 2 stars
1/24/08 Charles Tatum Misogynistic garbage...and I am a Cook fan! 1 stars
1/20/08 Carmen Crowe Much better than Knocked Up, EricD, and I'm NOT a 13-year-old boy! Chuck is charming. 4 stars
12/18/07 Thomas Pacheco looking forward to on dvd, big big Dane Cook fan 5 stars
12/13/07 William Goss Pushes the crass button to severely sophomoric lengths. 1 stars
10/18/07 Brad Horrible stuff...a bit disapointing to be honest 1 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey Not death wish material at all 1 stars
9/21/07 Heather Don't waste your time - one of the worst movies of this year 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Sep-2007 (R)
  DVD: 15-Jan-2008

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Mark Helfrich

Written by
  Josh Stolberg

Cast
  Dane Cook
  Jessica Alba
  Dan Fogler



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