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Good Luck Chuck

Once you wade through the expected fart, excrement and morbid-obesity jokes, Good Luck Chuck is, well, only half bad. In fact, given the expectations, it might just be the surprise mediocrity of 2007!


If only Chuck (Connor Price) had complied with the rules of Spin the Bottle in 1985—well, there'd apparently be no movie. The goth girl he refuses to kiss as a youngster puts a hex on him, thereby establishing Good Luck Chuck's tenuous storyline: Every girl he ever sleeps with shall find her true love immediately following their one-nighter. Cut to present day, which, sure enough, finds a grown-up Chuck (Dane Cook) scoring in the sack but not in the romance department. It doesn't take long for word of his cupid-like superpower to spread like wildfire in the female community, sending lovelorn women lining up for the chance to find true love via sex with Chuck. Chuck's childhood friend Stu (Dan Fogler) thinks he'd be crazy not to capitalize on such an opportunity, and after brief reluctance Chuck agrees. Then he meets, and falls head-over-heels for, Cam (Jessica Alba), a clumsy beauty who initially rejects Chuck's advances because of his reputation. Before long, though, they're a couple and it dawns on Chuck that she may be with him for the same reason as his past quickies. So he delays sex with Cam to try and reverse the curse, for fear of losing her to the next guy she meets if he beds her.


Chemistry, always the unsung hero of romantic comedies, is non-existent between Good Luck Chuck's odd couple that is Jessica Alba and Dane Cook. For Alba, not a single of her scenes would be laughable if not for the constant pratfalls to which her character is prone. She's capable of playing cute in her few tender moments, and God knows she excels at being hot—her sideboob scene will surely become the most freeze-framed scene in history when the DVD is released—but she lacks the natural goofiness of Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary and the screen presence of Jennifer Aniston in Along Came Polly (a movie Chuck's screenwriter clearly loved). Cook, with his highly split fan base, is already at somewhat of a career crossroads: Nobody wants to see him play it straight, but nobody wants to see a movie full of his standup shtick, either. He does both as Chuck, and it's not totally unsuccessful, but it's as culpable as Alba's ineffectiveness for their lack of chemistry. Fogler (Balls of Fury), meanwhile, as the token sidekick/wingman, garners the most laughs for the profanity he spews, looking and sounding like a grown-up Jonah Hill.


It's that time of year. Seemingly every single week there is at least one comedy thrown our way that falls short for its concessions, namely a lack of originality. This week it's Chuck, which may at least be the best of the worst, so to speak. That's about as high as the praise goes, however. The movie's foundation is a somewhat imaginative idea that predictably falters when stretched to a feature-length story by writer Josh Stolberg. It starts off on a downright creepy note with an opening scene that truly comes close to kiddie porn. From then on, rookie director/longtime editor Mark Helfrich mixes in a few highs with many lows. His highs come in the form of unapologetic raunchiness that will please both comedy fans and young male sneakers-in; the lows consist of Alba's pratfalls ad nauseam, a little toilet humor and one excessive obesity gag so distasteful that it makes Norbit look like a public service announcement. The fact people will howl with laughter is the real shame. In the end, Helfrich turns in the unevenness we've come to expect from comedies of this sort, while the writers take the story precisely where we've come to expect. That said, we've certainly seen worse this year.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.