Good Luck Chuck

Good Luck Chuck attempts to shock us and tries to make us laugh, when all it really is able to do is bore us. It takes a potentially interesting premise and drags it through the mud of romantic comedy clichés until there’s nothing left to laugh at. If you want to be offended by a movie, watch something else. If you want to have a few side-splitting moments, again, watch something else. I can’t think of a reason to see Good Luck Chuck.

The potentially interesting premise I mentioned above is this: Charlie (Dane Cook in present day) was hexed when he was a young lad. The local goth girl, who after getting chosen during a game of Spin the Bottle, professed her love for him, but since he was 10 and therefore shy around girls, he refused to show her anything below the waist once the pair went into the closet. So she puts that curse on him, although everyone at the party just kind of stares at her when she does it.

Fast-forward to present day, when Charlie is in his thirties. As it turns out, every time he has sex with a woman, she’ll eventually dump him and fall in love with the next guy she meets. That’s the curse that was put on him. Not a problem to begin with, as Charlie doesn’t easily fall in love. In fact, for a while, he lets his best friend, Stu (Dan Fogler), convince him that he’s doing these women a public service. It catches on, and even internet sites begin reporting on Charlie being a good luck charm. What could go wrong?

Well, love, I guess. At a wedding of one of his former lovers, Charlie meets Cam (Jessica Alba), who makes her entrance by running into someone. She’s a klutz who also is enamored with penguins. As she puts it, the word “obsessed” doesn’t even come close to describing her love for them. As a result, she works at Aqua World feeding and taking care of the penguins there. Putting a clumsy person in an icy enclosure sounds like it could lead to some funny situations, but she only slips on the ice once, and it’s not even her fault when it happens.

The kicker is that he knows that he can’t sleep with her, because it means that she’ll leave him and that she’ll love the next guy to ask her out, and she also doesn’t want to sleep with him because he’s now considered “sport” in her, and many other women’s, eyes. So, he has to win her over, while making sure not to have sex with her. I can see how that type of situation could end up being funny. It wasn’t here, but I can see what the initial premise could have offered us.

What we get instead is a film held together only by rom-com clichés, and some one-off jokes that you won’t remember at any point in the future. Cam loves penguins, so there are a couple of penguin jokes, and she also bumps into things a great deal. Charlie is the guy who just kind of goes along with whatever she wants to do, because, well, he’s in love, that’s why. And Stu shows up whenever director Mark Helfrich thinks we might be getting bored, which is apparently quite often with how often Stu decides to bother us.

It also seems as if breasts were used to supplement the lack of plot or character growth, so they appear frequently as well. So often, in fact, that the screen occasionally has to split into multiple panels in order to fit them in. Charlie has sex with many women, after all, so why not show all of those encounters? I think maybe because good taste would tell you otherwise, but that was not the thought that the filmmakers went through in creating this film. No, they show whatever they want, as many times as they want, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch.

That’s probably the best advice you can take: Don’t watch Good Luck Chuck. When you get all of the nudity as well as the nasty situations out of the way, what you’re left with is a generic romantic comedy with nothing to offer us in terms of plot, characters or even any real jokes. You’ll laugh a couple of times, sure, but the script lacks the sharpness required for them to stick with you, and since they’re not coming from anyone you care about, you’ll forget just as quickly as Charlie realizes that having sex with women you don’t care about eventually becomes monotonous. (It takes him about one and a half minutes, if you’re really wondering.)

The pacing is off. Moments of the film jump around and you’re not quite sure why. Times when you think that the scene will linger a while longer end up getting cut, and any character development along with them. The resolution comes from two characters going into another character’s house and him arbitrarily realizing what he needs to do. He was sitting there playing his Xbox, moping about how his life has turned out, before he gets a wake up call from a woman with three breasts (which are surprisingly not shown to us, at least, not until the end credits). Actions happen with little reason or time for the characters to think about them. You could argue that all of the characters just act spontaneously, but you’d be wrong, as we see Charlie plan things before, while Cam doesn’t seem entirely dimwitted herself.

Before all is said and done, I actually hoped that Cam and Charlie wouldn’t get together at the end. Not just because we’d avoid that final cliché, but because Dane Cook doesn’t play his character how we’re supposed to view him. He’s supposed to be suave, sexy and the good guy, but he comes across as a creep. He’s always staring in a manner that reminded me of the way a red herring will stare at the main character in a noir film. Although he does it with supposed love in his mind, while I’m just thinking that Cam might turn up dead in a week or two.

Good Luck Chuck is a bad romantic comedy full of cliché and utter nonsense. But it has a lot of breasts in it, so some of the people who plan to watch it will be happy and distracted by the simple fact that it isn’t any good. It’s jumpy, the jokes aren’t memorable or even all that funny in the moment, and Dane Cook doesn’t seem able to play the straight man. I didn’t have fun, and that’s the simple fact of the matter here.

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