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Good Luck Chuck

An innocent baby penguin is subjected to Dane Cook’s unwanted advances.

An innocent baby penguin is subjected to Dane Cook’s unwanted advances.

Rated 1.0

Good Luck Chuck starts off amicably enough. Dane Cook shows off a certain charm as the title character, and Jessica Alba appears to be giving one of her better screen performances, showing a gift for goofball comedy.

Then, somewhere around the halfway point, everything goes to hell.

It seems director Mark Helfrich wants to be as disgusting as possible with his screen time, and the likeable beginning is nothing but a tease. This is an ugly-as-sin movie, a film that has no shame in the atrocities it chooses to show onscreen. If you are looking for a movie with no tact, no brains and no class, Good Luck Chuck is the answer.

Cook plays Chuck, a hip dentist who has no luck with the girls. The film starts with a funny flashback. We see a young Chuck diss a Goth girl during spin the bottle, and she winds up putting a hex on him. Chuck will never find true love, and the girls he sleeps with will find their true love immediately after him.

Chuck meets Cam (Alba), a deranged and clumsy penguin enthusiast, at an ex-girlfriend’s wedding, where the bride has toasted him for being her good luck charm. Chuck falls in love instantly because she’s Jessica Alba, and she promptly spills hot candle wax all over his pants. The hardened stain provides joke fodder for Chuck’s best friend Stu (Dan Fogler of Balls of Fury).

Up until this point, and for a little while after, the film is actually funny and enjoyable. The budding relationship between Chuck and Cam is cute, Fogler shoots off some funny and raunchy one-liners, and everything seems to be going to plan. Chuck finds out he’s a good luck charm, which leads to a sex montage that left me surprised this film got an R. Seems like Unrated material to me.

There comes a point in the movie where Chuck’s character goes lunatic, and with this, all of the fun escapes from the picture. He becomes a crazed stalker, beating up people in the amusement park where Cam works, dressing up as a penguin and inundating her with gifts. While Cook played the beginning of the movie with leading man charisma, he’s far less successful at playing a nutbag. The movie goes from quirky and bawdy fun to blatant gross-out horror with the flip of a switch.

As part of Chuck’s quest to discover if he really is a good luck charm, Chuck and Stu conspire to find the most unmarketable woman in the world, have Chuck sleep with her, and then wait to see if she hooks up with her life mate soon thereafter. The nightmare comes in the form of Eleanor Skipple (Jodie Stewart), and she’s presented in such a way that will trigger your gag reflex, as it does Cook’s in the film. Looking rather mountainous in her bikini and unabashedly shoving lobster into her mouth, her appearance culminates with a sex-scene visual that could cause sterility in most males.

Close to none of this is fun. Cook and Alba have some chemistry together, but that’s sabotaged by Helfrich’s seeming desire to win the “Yuckiest Film Ever” award. Running gags involving Stu’s penchant for grapefruits and a final one involving Chuck doing repulsive things to a stuffed penguin, seem desperate.

A good gross-out comedy knows how to walk the line. There’s Something About Mary is a prime example of how to balance charm with the icky sight gags. Good Luck Chuck has no balance. It’s a drunken sailor with a broken leg and skates two sizes too small on a sea of ice smeared with oil. Somewhere along the line, the filmmakers decided to pull out all the stops and make the granddaddy of disgusting cinema. Surely, there will be those who consider this an achievement of sorts. If you can have some fun with this thing, have at it. As for me, Good Luck Chuck represents some of the very worst that cinema has to offer.