Published on March 12th, 2007 | by Mike Barnard0
Good Luck Chuck
Cast: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Chelan Simmons, Ellia English
Hollywood comedies have been getting a lot of respect recently thanks largely to Judd Apatow. His Knocked Up and Superbad were two highlights on the cinematic calendar last year while the similarly-themed Juno even pushed its way into the Oscar nominations. They have all proved the slacker comedy can still be a witty take on American life. Not so Good Luck Chuck – its very premise is enough to have you reaching for the remote after ten minutes unless you’re in the mood for breasts, dirty jokes and male chauvinism.
At the centre of the dubious plotting is Charlie (Cook), hexed by a goth girl to never find love when he was a teenager. In fact, every girl he sleeps with will find true love with the next guy she sleeps with. This is not good news for Charlie, but when he sudden gains a reputation as a “good luck charm”, all the girls are suddenly after him and he takes full advantage of the situation. His bedroom exploits leave him a little unfulfilled, though, so when he meets the beautiful penguin enthusiast Cam (Alba) he becomes desperate to break the curse in any way possible. Perhaps this tale works on paper, but in practice the screenplay is juvenile and does its best to make the two male leads as dislikeable as possible.
Charlie is supposed to be a loveable rouge, supposedly doing what any man would do if they were him. A nice idea that might work if he wasn’t spending the first half of the film looking very pleased with his many conquests. Charlie’s best friend Stu has just as few morals, being a sex-obsessed plastic surgeon who uses his profession to ogle at the new aspects of his women patients. When he’s not in surgery, he spends quality time with grapefruit in an American Pie sort of way. Outrageous in all the wrong ways, loud mouth Stu is detestable to the point of wanting to skip past his scenes. This is one of the many aspects women watching Good Luck Chuck will most likely find offensive rather than boyishly charming, particularly with the main story suggesting the fairer sex will sleep with anyone to find their one true love – even a complete stranger. It is no surprise Charlie is played by a hunky actor who probably wouldn’t ever need to be branded a lucky charm to bed the desperate ladies here.
Then there is Jessica Alba as the girl who can rid Charlie of the curse in a typically one-dimensional role where all she has to do is look generally irresistible, which isn’t too hard, and clumsily fall over or bang her head to appear dopey – also not too hard. Thankfully the romance between Cam and Charlie towards the end of the movie does bring some much-needed taste into the movie, but by then most people will have probably lost all interest. Viewed as post-pub entertainment on a Friday lads night, Good Luck Chuck is easy to stomach and provides easy targets to laugh and poke fun at for 90 minutes. For a situation where any more than a simple distraction is required to make you laugh, there are at least two far more intelligent comedies from 2007 already mentioned above available to rent.
The film may not be great, but there are a lot of features to divert your attention and show the funny side of stars Cook and Fogler. They include a cast and crew commentary, gag reels, alternative, deleted and extended scenes, featurettes, ad libs, music montages and Easter eggs to find.