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Good Luck Chuck (Unrated)

Lionsgate Home Entertainment // Unrated // January 15, 2008
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted February 7, 2008 | E-mail the Author
"If you were a hamburger at McDonald's, I'd name you my McBeautiful Titty Sandwich with Titties on Top."

"You've got too many patients, and I've got too little patience for you to be gabbing gossip with Dr. Boobjobs in the hallway." (Get it?!? It's a homonym.)

I was too lazy to jot down any other quotes, so...what else? Dane Cook slurps around on a stuffed toy penguin's crotch. A Japanese guy belts out "I Touch Myself" at a karaoke thing in broken Engrish. You've got your old lady muttering "shithead" 'cause wrinkly old people saying dirty words is funny!!! Dan Fogler fucks a microwaved melon while a shuttlecock or something is crammed up his ass. There's a shot of a penguin squirting out some green poop, then he turns around and starts pecking away at it. There's an unfuckable, six hundred pound hedgehog of a woman who, in between farts, can wolf down a lobster, shell and all, in twenty seconds flat. The movie kinda milks the same exact joke by having a forty or fiftysomething mouth-breathing secretary strip down to something out of Lane Bryant's lingerie section before pouncing on Dane Cook. There's a laughless pothead role that's just kinda there to rattle off a few weed references so the fifteen year olds who snuck into the theater might high-five each other or whatever.

I could keep that list going for a while, but...yeah, you get the gist. Good Luck Chuck is hovering just under the 3% on Rotten Tomatoes as I write this, ranking down there with dreck like Norbit and Daddy Day Camp as the worst reviewed movie of 2007. I'll be honest and admit that I didn't hate it as much as...well, everyone else, everywhere, but just 'cause I found Good Luck Chuck kinda/sorta tolerable doesn't mean it's worth shelling out more than a couple of bucks to check out.

Some kids play spin the bottle in junior high and wind up with seven minutes in heaven. Charlie walked away with a hex. He broke a horny, pre-pubescent goth's heart, so Little Miss Bauhaus put a curse on Charlie: every woman he sleeps with is destined to marry the next guy she meets. Okay, that's pretty inventive for a fifth grader, and twenty years later, Charlie (Dane Cook) still hasn't managed to fall in love. I mean, he's a successful dentist with an unbelievably awesome car, so Charlie doesn't have any trouble getting laid, but he always sees 'em married off to some other guy within a couple of months. It's a curse that's heartbreaking for a lovelorn schmuck like Charlie, although once word gets around that he's a marital good luck charm, damn near every woman in Washington without a ring on her finger is looking to use his lucky dong as a leap pad to wedded bliss.

Stu (Dan Fogler), the plastic surgeon down the hall doing the whole hornball best friend thing, tells him this is a gift from the whatever above, not a curse, so...Charlie decides to take advantage. After all, he's doing this girls a favor by porking 'em, right? Right? Charlie has plenty of takers, but that skeevy reputation keeps the adorable, penguin-crazed, disaster-prone Cam (Jessica Alba) from wanting much of anything to do with him. Yeah, you've seen the trailer, so you already know the Charlie wears her down into going out with him. Cam's even eager to go ahead and seal the deal, but because Charlie thinks she's the one, he has to hold off on inserting tab A into slot B until he's found a way to break the curse.

Okay, with Judd Apatow's past few flicks having raked in hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, everyone's doing the whole sweet-'n-vulgar thing these days. The thing is that movies like Superbad and The 40 Year Old Virgin cleverly mixed in the sugary-sweet romances with the dick and cum jokes. Good Luck Chuck doesn't blend the two together so much as awkwardly shift back and forth between 'em. A good bit of the first stretch of the movie is pretty typical romantic comedy stuff. Meet-cute. Clever banter. Heavy on the slapstick with Jessica Alba plowing headfirst into...well, everything and repeatedly maiming Dane Cook. It's all cute and familiar and kinda forgettable.

Once Cam sweetly shoots him down, it's time for a six minute montage of Charlie-fuckin'. Okay, I didn't actually time it to see if that montage clocks in at six minutes, but it's Charlie plowing his way through at least ten or twelve nekkid women in so many different positions that you'd have to watch Spice for three and a half hours straight to see that sort of sexual gymnastics. This montage drags on for so long that even though I'm a male, twentysomething shut-in -- the target demographic! -- even I was finding it kinda creepy after a while. Good Luck Chuck lurches back and forth between that a few times, and the gross-out comedy almost never hits the mark. There is a scene with Charlie's 620 lb., acne-scarred date devouring a lobster whole that just about made me vomit, though, so there's that.

Anyway, Good Luck Chuck just seems like it's pandering to two different crowds. Y'know, something for the guys, something for the ladies... It's got titties. It's got goofy romance. That's supposed to make it a solid date flick, I guess, and I'll be honest: if I'd been dragged to see Good Luck Chuck when it was still in theaters, I wouldn't have walked out. It's not a funny movie, but it's funny enough, serving up four or five really solid laughs. That's more than I can say for most of the comedies I get in the mail. There's also kind of a charm to the scenes with Jessica Alba and Dane Cook. I mean, it's pretty astonishing that Alba's still this stilted an actress after being in front of the camera pretty much her entire life, but she just radiates this sort of...adorableness on-screen that's kind of infectious.

Just about every scene she's not is drenched in flopsweat, though. Dane Cook's alright, but that overly manic energy he has on-stage when he's screaming his way through his stand-up act is reined in for most of the flick. It's not until the very end -- when Charlie pretty much careens over the edge and starts dementedly stalking Cam -- that Cook is really unleashed. Since the leading guy in every comedy has to have a best friend who's either black or dumpy-'n-fingers-wagglingly-zany, Good Luck Chuck goes the fat buddy route and brings in Dan Fogler. I've watched literally thousands of movies over the course of my empty, meaningless life, and I seriously can't think of another actor I've flat out fucking hated more than Dan Fogler in Good Luck Chuck. Fogler comes from kind of the same school of comedy as Cook, where it's not really what you say that's supposed to be funny but how much you flail your arms and scream. Fogler's even more unwatchably desperate for a laugh, cranking up Cook's schtick a couple hundred decibels while leaning on nothing but tit jokes and gay panic. Fogler has a background in theater, and...go back there. And stay. Forever. Please.

Oh, and this is the unrated version of Good Luck Chuck, running somewhere around five minutes longer than the theatrical release. A few of the differences are pointed out in the audio commentary, and I think they all involve tits. There are a whoooooole lotta tits in Good Luck Chuck.

How in the holy hell have I managed to write this much? I mean, "kinda shitty" only has eleven letters in it, so this review really shouldn't be this long. Anyway, if you like boobies and boners and pratfalls and pot and a couple hundred thousand different words for cum, you'll probably find Good Luck Chuck at least worth a rental. It's tolerable, though, and I'd probably sit through the movie on cable. In a weak moment, I might rent it. Um, not exactly recommended, though.

Video: I was really floored by how great Good Luck Chuck looked in high-def in its first couple of minutes. There's an early close-up of Dane Cook baking on a beach that's just inhumanly sharp and detailed...the sort of thing where you feel as if you can pick out each individual grain of sand. That sense of awe fades pretty quickly, though. While the 1.78:1 image is reasonably sharp and detailed throughout, there's an artificial, overly smoothened look to it that makes everything look unusually shiny and plastic. If that's the result of some heavy-handed digital noise reduction or something, it's a drag since this AVC encode is just about perfect in every other possible respect. Its colors in particular look unbelievable -- remarkably vivid and prone to leaping a couple hundred feet off the screen.

Audio: Good Luck Chuck sports a 7.1 PCM track, and although I'm still stuck with a six channel rig in my home theater, I really don't think that'd make much of a difference here. Good Luck Chuck sticks to the standard issue comedy sound design -- dialogue front and center, a little stereo separation up front, and music and light ambiance filling out the rest. Bass response is surprisingly lightweight, even with Jessica Alba clonking her head on anything and everything, and none of the songs on the soundtrack have all that beefy a low end. Anyway, the audio is fine for what it is, but it's not exactly demanding.

A Dolby Digital 5.1 track has also been included, although there aren't any dubbed soundtracks this time around. Subtitles are served up in English and Spanish.

Extras: Lots! And every last bit of it is in high-def, and that's always nice to see.

The disc's audio commentary is a recent inductee into The Onion's A.V. Club's Commentary Tracks of the Damned. Like...oh, everything else about Good Luck Chuck, I wasn't bowled over or anything but thought it was alright. Dane Cook and director Mark Helfrich do most of the talking, with producer Mike Karz and writer Josh Stolberg kinda just sit meekly in their chairs for a hundred minutes and change. The track's as chatty and quippy as you'd expect from a manic stand-up comic and an enthusiastic first-time director. Some of the highlights include Jessica Alba chipping her tooth during filming in the same exact spot where they'd put a chipped-tooth-prosthetic two months earlier, nicking the cinematographer behind Nicolas Roeg's astonishingly beautiful Don't Look Now as their D.P., shooting some part of that sprawling sex montage just about every single day of filming, digital nut removal, leaving one actor beaten, bloodied, and battered when he wasn't supposed to even be touched, Cook fearing for his life under a half-ton of back fat and acne... Yeah. 'Sokay.

Next up are seven featurettes, clocking in right at a half hour in total. There's a cringe-worthy bit with the cast and crew talking about what a pain in the ass it was to work with "Frank the Penguin Actor" (3 min.). "Polymastia" (4 min.) shows off the visual effects wizardry behind realizing a woman with three perfect tits. (It really is impressive, by the way; I sincerely thought they managed to cast a woman with some sort of birth defect.) "Kama Sutra" (3 min.) runs through the sex montage that takes its inspiration from an old poster with astrological signs and sexual positions. Helfrich also notes how there was a bunch of oneupsmanship with the actresses in that montage, each trying to be even more over the top than the last. The longest of these featurettes is "All About Penguins" (8 min.), which is all about...yeah: everything from answering why penguins to the specific type of penguins used to digital penguins to shooting in Edmonton 'cause it's the most penguin-friendly place around to penguin temperment...penguins, penguins, penguins. "Eleanor Skepple" (5 min.) touches on how borderline-impossible it was to cast this acne-scarred, morbidly obese role until a sweet, surprisingly normal looking gal with a MySpace account sent in a homebrew audition tape. "Good Luck Chuckles" (4 min.) doesn't really have any driving theme...just Dane Cook strumming away at a guitar with shots of his crotch being smothered in candle wax and gabbing about how he kept smashing his head into Jessica Alba during their on-screen kisses. The last of this stuff is a quick introduction to Steven Glenn, the "Real Life Chuck" (3 min.) who inspired the movie after being dumped by a parade of women who all wound up married a few months later.

There are two music montages -- one to The Honorary Title's "Accident Prone" and another for "I Was Zapped by the Lucky Super Rainbow" by The Flaming Lips. "Accident Prone" is set against a high-res slideshow, while "I Was Zapped..." plays over a montage of digitally tweaked snippets from the movie.

The Sex Matrix is a, um, 4x4 grid that serves up really short clips lifted from Good Luck Chuck's disturbingly long sex montage, backed by some Benny Hill knockoff music. These clips are really short, averaging 8 or 9 seconds in length, but you can tell that Dane Cook had a good enough time shooting 'em that they had to blur out some of the naughty bits. To throw viewers off, not all of these clips are of sex...some are quick teases with Cook.

Extra bits of footage make up the rest of the bells and whistles. There are nine minutes of ad libs, with Dane Cook getting the most screen time as he spouts off a steady stream of one-liners. Likewise for the nine minute gag reel, which pretty much just lets the intensely physical comedian go nuts. And...y'know, lets his face get licked raw. There are five alternate scenes that run two and a half minutes in total, with everything from Dane Cook sprinkling sugar on his head while singing about a winter wonderland to Charlie and Cam having a fart-off in bed. Four minutes' worth of extended scenes include Charlie calling Cam a couple hundred thousand times, her brother Joe doing his best Morgan Freeman narration,, another reminder that he's keen on lighting up. Last up are two deleted scenes (3 min.), both of which are set at the tailend of the movie. Oh, I forgot to mention that the climax is set at an airport -- it's kind of an unavoidable rule for romantic comedies, y'know -- and the first of these scenes has Charlie rushing to the airport to tell Cam how he feels, only he's caught at a red light that won't change!!! There's also an alternate ending, although it's pretty much the same thing with some slightly different and extended shots.

Rounding out the extras are trailers for Employee of the Month, Lord of War, The Condemned, and Crank.

Conclusion: Okay, pretend Hepburn and Tracy were shooting something for Cinemax After Dark, then filter it through Grandma's Boy or one of those other Happy Madison shitball comedies. Wherever that ballpark is, Good Luck Chuck is somewhere around it. If you've gotta see Good Luck Chuck, I'd say Rent It.

The images scattered around this review are promotional stills and aren't meant to represent the way the movie looks in high definition.
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