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If you’ve seen a preview for Good Luck Chuck you’ve probably thought: “oh great another romantic comedy where the hero finds himself in ridiculous and painful situations courtesy of his new smoking hot girlfriend,” or even more likely: “oh great another Ben Stiller movie…wait isn’t this The Heartbreak Kid?” Either way, you’ve been had. For some mysterious reason Lionsgate decided to push the clumsiness of love-interest Cam (Jessica Alba), which contributes only to the few moments of slapstick humor featured in previews. Meanwhile the film’s significantly funnier premise, that every woman who Charlie Logan (Dane Cook) sleeps with marries her next boyfriend, flies under the radar. Maybe the filmmakers were hoping audiences will be pleasantly surprised, or maybe they’re counting on laughs from seeing unsuspecting audience members staring aghast at a montage of Kama-Sutra positions… either way, by targeting the wrong type of audience, the promoters took a big risk and I’m not sure it’s going to pay off.
Good Luck Chuck opens during a routine game of spin-the-bottle as ten-year-old Charlie prays the bottle will fix him up with his cute red-headed crush. Instead, the ill-fated Coke points to a freakish Goth girl who tries to jump Charlie in the closet and then puts a hex on him when he refuses her. It isn’t until twenty-five years later at the wedding of an ex, that Charlie feels the true ramifications of the curse. Now a successful dentist, Charlie is surprised when he is acknowledged in the bridal toast as the good luck charm that brought his ex to her true love. Before the ramifications of this can sink in, Charlie is distracted by the gorgeous penguin specialist Cam, a girl who takes clumsiness to a whole new level.
As rumors of Charlie’s good luck status spread to desperate single women everywhere, Charlie’s office is suddenly filled with women begging for a quickie in order to find their true love. After his breast-obsessed best buddy Stu (Dan Fogler) encourages Charlie to satisfy all these women, Charlie makes the mistake of actually falling for Cam. But when more and more of his sexual partners start popping up engaged, Charlie realizes he has to break the curse before he loses Cam to the next man she dates.
Originally written with a PG-13 audience in mind, Good Luck Chuck was revamped when the writers realized how much more they could do with the film’s sexual humor. While the language is realistic and there are a few near-pornographic sequences you wouldn’t want to watch next to your mother, the script still feels caught between two types of movie: the cheesy rom-com and the shocking sex comedy. As the former, Dane Cook almost passes for the guy-next-door hero with his unique brand of humor, but the relationship between he and Jessica Alba is neither believable nor particularly endearing. Meanwhile, the movie’s gross-out humor (including one gag-worthy scene where Charlie tries to break the curse with the most disgusting woman on earth) and endless breast jokes get very old, very quickly. Ultimately, the humor is best when it is at its most simple - a scene where Charlie has to walk away from a half-naked Cam for fear of the curse is particularly entertaining.
The film has its laugh-out-loud moments, but most of those seem to come from gratuitous sex scenes instead of actual jokes. When a comedy tries too hard to push the envelope, it often misses on the little things, and that’s certainly the plight of Good Luck Chuck.