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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.56%
Worth A Look: 7.69%
Just Average: 17.95%
Pretty Crappy: 17.95%

4 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Good Luck Chuck
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Amazingly, It Is Even Worse Than It Looks."
1 stars

It has always been a popular gambit for a beautiful young actress to take on a role in which she is required to do pratfalls into mud puddles (if she is lucky), embarrass themselves at important social functions and generally act like a klutz–the theory is that if we see such seemingly perfect physical specimens acting in such a foolish manner, it will allow viewers to relate to them as ordinary human beings instead of as unattainable goddesses and make them seem more likable as a result. When it works, such as the moment in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” in which Cameron Diaz struggled through her karaoke rendition of “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” or when Julia Roberts stumbled through high society in “Pretty Woman,” it can both save an otherwise undistinguished film and supercharge a career. When it doesn’t work, such as it didn’t with Sandra Bullock in those dreadful “Miss Congeniality” movies, the results can be really painful as we sit there dumbfounded while watching some poor actress humiliating herself in a desperate attempt to score some laughs. With “Good Luck Chuck,” the undeniably gorgeous Jessica Alba is the latest starlet to go this route in an effort to win audience sympathy and to her credit, she goes to lengths that few others would even contemplate in order to debase herself–she cracks her mouth on the side of a penguin pool, she trips over her own two feet (or someone else’s if hers aren’t handy), she gets her skirt caught in a car door and, most odious of all, she tries to convince us that she could actually be attracted to the likes of Dane Cook. Alas, the joke turns out to be on her because the biggest embarrassment turns out to be that she willingly decided to appear in this patently awful film in the first place.

Alba stars as Cam Wexler, a woman whose entire personality is defined by three things–she has the kind of body that inspires the kind of reaction ordinarily seen in a confrontation between Homer Simpson and an all-bacon buffet, she is obsessed with penguins and she is so irredeemably clumsy that it is a wonder that she has somehow avoided becoming an exceedingly good-looking corpse. A stumble into the penguin habitat at the aquarium where she works gives her a chipped tooth and lands her in the office of dentist Charlie Logan (Cook). Because she looks like Jessica Alba, Charlie is instantly smitten with her even after she manages to stab him in the back, electrocute him and trash the roof of his vintage convertible all in the space of just a couple of hours. Although Cam puts him off for a little bit (presumably in order to pad out the running time), she soon finds herself sweet on him as well, presumably because all of the shots to the head that she has presumably taken over the years have finally added up to one enormous concussion.

Because this is a contemporary romantic comedy, the course of true love can’t possibly run smooth and the complication at the center of “Good Luck Chuck” is a doozy indeed. We learn that as a result of a youthful round of Seven Minutes in Heaven with a weirdo goth girl horribly wrong, Charlie has been placed under a bizarre hex–any woman who sleeps with him once will find true and everlasting love with the very next man that she goes out with. Once word gets around about this, Charlie’s office begins filling up with babes looking for entirely different kinds of fillings and, encouraged by his horn-dog pal (Dan Fogler trying and failing to become the modern-day Curtis Armstrong), he convinces himself that his is doing a good deed by helping them find their soulmates. Alas–sob–he finds that he is really in love with Cam and decides to forsake all of that for her. The problem, of course, is that the minute he sleeps with her, he fears that she will leave him for the next guy and so he endeavors to prolong the consummation of their relationship for as long as possible. Eventually he caves but his efforts to hold on to her are so smothering that she dumps him and Charlie must figure out a way to reverse the hex and win her back before she heads off to Antarctica with a hunky penguin expert.

As premises for dippy romantic comedies go, the conceit of “Good Luck Chuck” isn’t that awful–I can see the Farrelly Brothers, back in the glory days of “Kingpin” and “There’s Something About Mary” (a film that this one blatantly wants to emulate from start to finish), transforming it into something that could have effectively balanced the stabs at sweet romance with the raunchy sexual humor. Alas, the creative team for this film consists of a director (Mark Helfrich) who previously served as Brett Ratner’s editor and a writer (Josh Stolberg) whose credits include the amazingly clunky “Kids In America” and serving as a story editor for the video production “Playboy: Who Wants To Be A Playboy Centerfold?”and, sad to say, the final product feels exactly like the product of that parentage. Even for this type of film, “Good Luck Chuck” is really dumb, nonsensical and borderline offensive. We learn early on, for example, that Cam knows all about Chuck and his supposed powers and yet cannot figure out why he is trying to avoid sleeping with her or why is acting so weird and smothering towards her after he does. The scenes involving Charlie “aiding” his various conquests are presumably included in order to beef up the raunch quotient and lure guys into the theater (especially since they presumably realize that if Jessica Alba wasn’t going to disrobe for a real movie like “Sin City,” she certainly isn’t going to for a Dane Cook extravaganza) but they go so far over-the-top that they cease being funny (maybe “cease” isn’t quite the right word as it suggests that it stops being funny as opposed to never being funny in the first place) and stumble into the kind of wholesale crudity that even “Maxim” subscribers might find off-putting. When all of this fails, which it does relentlessly, the film tries to score cheap laughs with ugly jokes including the such time-worn cliches as the horny best pal (who does unspeakable things to grapefruits), the foul-mouthed granny, the sassy black woman, the stoner brother and, in the most grotesquely unfunny segment in a film chock-full of grotesquely unfunny segments, an enormously fat woman (who is also covered with acne for further comedic effect) who behaves in a manner that makes you yearn for the quiet dignity that Eddie Murphy brought to his similar role in “Norbit.”

As for the softer and more romantic material, it actually comes off as more painfully bad than the sleazier stuff and most of that is due to the utter lack of believable chemistry between the two stars. Jessica Alba is undeniably beautiful–she has the kind of golden glow that makes you think that she has someone off-stage who is basting her with butter between takes–and while she may not be the strongest actress around, she does have a sweet personality and the ability to get laughs when she has been given decent material. (Although the movie as a whole wasn’t particularly funny, her recent appearance in the Ten Commandments-inspired comedy “The Ten” scored some of its biggest laughs–the minute that someone offers her rendition of the line “Will you buy me a pony?,” I will nab it in a heartbeat.) Unfortunately, this screenplay basically asks her to look like a clod in scene after scene without giving us any reason to care about her character or the various calamities surrounding her and as a result, we wind up feeling kind of sorry for her instead of being amused by the antics of her character.

Of course, you can’t come down too hard on her for failing to put across much good cheer since every day on the set required her to make googly eyes at the loathsome likes of Dane Cook. Although I have been assured by many people that this guy has some kind of following as a comedian, there is nothing in his appearance here to suggest that he has even seen a romantic comedy before in his life, let alone has the charm and comic timing to appear in one. Throughout “Good Luck Chuck,” he is smug, snarky and patently insincere–never more so than in the scenes in which he is supposed to be sincere (the scene in which his lovelorn receptionist begs him to use his powers on her is blood-curdlingly bad–and while some brief joy can be derived from the various moments in which he is injured in various ways as a result of his exposure to Alba’s ill luck, it hardly begins to make up for the rest of his appearance. (If only they could have spliced his final appearance in the underrated “Mr Brooks” into the story, preferably right at the start, that might have had a little merit.) I never thought I would write these following words but while watching Cook smug up the joint, I kept thinking to myself that I would have rather seen Ryan Reynolds in the lead.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16634&reviewer=389
originally posted: 09/21/07 00:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Boston Film Festival For more in the 2007 Boston Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/16/16 David H. So bad, its even worse 1 stars
6/02/10 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
8/12/09 Dan I actually like Dane Cook but this is mostly mediocre. 3 stars
2/09/09 mark dedasco pretty ok 4 stars
8/28/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Flick!! 4 stars
8/11/08 Jon G Hate It! Hate It! Dane Cook Sucks as a actor! 1 stars
2/03/08 Veronica Jarvis Campy...silly movie...maybe rent, but definately don't buy! 2 stars
1/23/08 Charles Tatum Misogynistic garbage...and I am a Cook fan! 1 stars
1/19/08 Carmen Crowe Much better than Knocked Up, EricD, and I'm NOT a 13-year-old boy! Chuck is charming. 4 stars
12/17/07 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
9/27/07 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
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  21-Sep-2007 (R)
  DVD: 15-Jan-2008



Directed by
  Mark Helfrich

Written by
  Josh Stolberg

  Dane Cook
  Jessica Alba
  Dan Fogler

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