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Good Luck Chuck

on September 21, 2007 by John P. McCarthy
As with pornographic spam, use caution when opening Good Luck Chuck . Among the potentially nauseating images inside:  A grown man (Dan Fogler) pleasures himself with a grapefruit and dishwashing brush; an angry, obese woman devours lobster during a pre-coital meal; Chuck (Dane Cook) performs oral sex on a stuffed penguin; and, finally, a shot of a live penguin eats its own excrement. If they were funny, these disgusting moments might be tolerable. On the other hand, they're less obscene than the movie's attempts to find sentiment in Chuck's quest for romantic fulfillment. Lionsgate had the decency not to bill this as a romantic comedy, yet calling it a comedy is also a stretch. Attempting to co-mingle March of the Penguins , Wedding Crashers and Knocked Up was a bad idea.

Despite significant experience as an editor, first-time director Mark Helfrich can't make Josh Stolberg's poorly constructed script flow: During a 1985 game of spin-the-bottle, a 10-year-old Goth girl puts a hex on young Chuck Logan. Every woman he beds is destined to find her true love immediately after the encounter. Chuck, now a dentist with an office next to his plastic-surgeon pal Stu (hint for copycats: microwave the grapefruit), doesn't appreciate the implications of the curse until he meets his dream girl at a wedding. Klutzy and comely Cam (Jessica Alba) runs the penguin exhibit at a local aquarium alongside her stoner brother (Lonny Ross). Afraid of losing Cam if they sleep together, Chuck busies himself servicing all the single women that come flocking, including his sassy, African-American assistant who doesn't feel pretty. Chuck is on the receiving end of a true mercy hook-up when he tests the hex by sleeping with the abovementioned lobster-lover.

While Alba displays a flair for physical comedy, Cook's appeal remains as elusive as ever. You can't blame him for jumping on board the project since he gets to have relations with countless women—surely, no mainstream American movie has ever had a higher bare-breast quotient. But if Cook never appears to be enjoying himself, how much fun can the audience have?

No doubt, the outtakes on the DVD release will prove useful for recovering sex addicts and in vomitoria. There's enough in this version to put you off penguins, Fogler and sex comedies forever, if not Alba or sex itself. (Ignore Cook, and maybe he'll go away.) We do glean a curious zoological tidbit: In certain penguin species, mate selection is up to the female. Since human females usually pick the movies couples see, it's unlikely Good Luck Chuck will be a huge performer.
Distributor: Lionsgate
Cast: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler and Lonny Ross
Director: Mark Helfrich
Screenwriter: Josh Stolberg
Producers: Mike Katz, Barry Katz and Brian Volk-Weiss
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R for sequences of strong sexual content including crude dialogue, nudity, language and some drug use
Running time: 96 min.
Release date:  September 21, 2007
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