Silver Chips Online

Good luck surviving "Chuck"

Crude and pathetic and vulgar, oh my!

By David Jia, Online Blair Connections Editor
September 24, 2007
After the American Pies, The Forty Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, directors still haven't realized that people are tired of the same old thing. Director Mark Helfrick fails excruciatingly at attracting two irreconcilable demographics to "Good Luck Chuck," the sappy romantics and crude sexuality addicts. The result is clichéd klutziness, pathetic bathroom jokes and sure to be all-time low box office sales.

The movie opens with a ten-year-old Charlie Logan (Connor Price) refusing to smooch a deranged Goth girl in a game of spin-the-bottle; in her anguish, the girl hexes Charlie so that every girl he ever dates will fall head-over-heels for the next guy she's with. And sure enough, the present-day Charlie (Dane Cook), a successful dentist, still fails to move any relationship forward. On the other hand, women line up to date him in hopes of finding their Mr. Right. Blindly believing this to be symbolic of the pursuit of true love, Charlie, and perhaps Helfrick, does not see this monotonous spree of casual sex as more than the not-so-subtle degradation of women.

All's well for Charlie though, until Jessica Alba steps on screen as the beautiful but accident-prone Cam Wexler, a penguin exhibit director at the zoo. A complete klutz, Cam manages to chip her tooth, puncture Charlie's back with dental tools and make Charlie's convertible top fly off within the first half hour. Nevertheless, for the first time in his life, Charlie thinks he is in love but realizes that if he sleeps with her, he'll just be a stepping stone to Cam's future husband. Now, Charlie must figure out how to break the curse lest he lose her forever.
Cam (Alba) and her brother Joe (Ross) discuss what it means to love while caring for a penguin at the zoo.
Cam (Alba) and her brother Joe (Ross) discuss what it means to love while caring for a penguin at the zoo.

"Good Luck Chuck" tries to pull a Judd Apatow (director of comedies like "The 40 Year Old Virgin, " "Knocked Up" and "Superbad") but the classic teen-pleasing vulgarity is sub-par at best when Helfrick tries it. Charlie's best friend Stu (Dan Folger), a sex-crazed plastic surgeon specializing in breast enlargement, presents the biggest distraction to the central plotline. Overly-pumped with testosterone, Stu pops in with crude jokes that ruin funny or touching scenes. Overall, Folger's performance, if it can be called so, throws Cook's so off balance that Folger should probably get his 2005 Tony Award revoked for it. Add on references to preteen sex in the beginning of the movie, two sex scenes with nauseatingly obese women and hints at bestiality during the credits, and there really is no room to for eating popcorn without barfing. Well, at least the film is consistent in being revolting.

Sexual innuendo aside, the chemistry between Cook and Alba makes for pleasant fluff scenes, at least at first. Tripping, slipping and crashing into objects become so commonplace in the movie that even this final remaining comical aspect begins to fall apart near the end. But despite the clumsy, pretty face act, Alba succeeds in pushing out of her modeling-on-film career by delivering character depth instead of just skimpy outfits. After Sin City and Fantastic Four, the starlet finally gets a role with a personality attached.

An unexpected delight comes from Lonny Ross' performance as Cam's brother Joe, a crack-addict who helps out at the zoo. Joe deftly handles the job of giving surprisingly insightful advice on love while being hilariously high the majority of the time. Though he only has a few lines Ross manages to be funnier than Cook, whose antics are mostly overdone. When Charlie tries to impress Cam by wearing an outrageous penguin suit, Joe easily steals the spotlight by looking on with his blank, stoned expression.

Unfortunately, Alba and Ross could not pull "Chuck" out of the woods, but instead find themselves innocent victims of uncensored crudeness and pointless nudity in a movie that should never have been made.

"Good Luck Chuck" is rated R for sequences of strong sexual content including crude dialogue, nudity, language and some drug use and is now playing in all theaters.