September 24, 2007

Better Luck Next Time, Chuck

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With the recent string of raunchy comedies that have infiltrated theatres, including 40-Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Knocked Up, and Superbad, Good Luck Chuck attempts to follow lead and falls frighteningly behind the front runners. The premise for the film is promising enough: Chuck Logan (Dane Cook) is a successful dentist who has been cursed to a life of bachelorhood because every woman he (rarely) loves and (always) sleeps with is destined to marry the next guy after him. Charlie’s obnoxious best friend, Stu (Dan Fogler), encourages the curse for the “good of all women” (aww thanks so much Stu, we apreciate the thought). Gee, what a problem…Poor over-sexed Charlie, to have every woman on earth line up at your bed and not even have to pay. The audience sympathizes. Truly, woe is you.

Enter Cam (Jessica Alba), an adorable, kluzty penguin lover. Charlie believes Cam might be “The One” but Cam refuses to date Charlie because he is a “playa.” And for Charlie, sleeping with Cam is out of the question because if he does she will inevitably leave him for “Mr. Right.”

For an R-rated film, Good Luck Chuck stays within the PG-13 margin, relying on every tired joke and cliché to struggle toward a resolution. Of course there is a montage of one-night, meaningless sex and a “touching” airport scene that ends with a kiss. The execution of every scene was trite and over worked. Knocked-Up was funny because there was chemistry amongst the characters and the lunacy of normalcy spoke for itself. Good Luck Chuck however only chugs towards a punchline and in time, becomes exhausting to watch. Dane Cook should quit now and Jessica Alba, who plays among all the cute penguins could use more lessons on how crucial timing is in delivering a joke. On a quick aside, what’s with the tremendous upsurge of love for penguins all of a sudden (March of the Penguins, Surf’s Up, Happy Feet, ad infinitum). Anyway, depending on your personality, the funniest character in the film is Stu, a plastic surgeon so obsessed with breasts that he even has Pamela Anderson’s old implants on display. Unfortunately, even Stu’s awkwardness could not redeem this 96 minute automatic pilot plot.

It’s really too bad the writers missed the memo that a story worked around Jessica Alba in underwear is, though enticing, not funny. Note that Jessica Alba is never actually naked, much to my date’s dismay (though she does spend one scene in a bath tub, covered in bubbles). Dane Cook, on the other hand, could not seem to find his pants, much to my dismay. Despite all this, I wholeheartedly agree with the old adage that “You get what you pay for.” What was most frustrating about the film was the false advertising under which it was promoted. For the past week, every TV channel has been plugging Good Luck Chuck as a light-hearted romantic comedy — not that I’m crazy about this genre to begin with. Even the posters made the film appear interesting (one mimics the famous John Lennon and Yoko Ono Rolling Stones cover). So what exactly did I pay for? Let it be known that we the viewers are an unforgiving group: when promised romance we expect romance, not watered down pornography. The cinematic highlight of the film was when…actually, never mind. There was none. Lets just conclude by saying that if you would willingly sleep with Dane Cook in hopes of meeting the man of your dreams or if you are tempted by the thought of a nearly naked Jessica Alba, here is your movie.