Despite what the marketing folks would have you believe, Good Luck Chuck is not, in fact, an average guy/beautiful klutz romantic comedy, and it's pretty baffling that this is how they choose to sell it. Sure, Jessica Alba
plays an endearing young girl who regularly gets the crap beat out of her in elaborate ways, but that's a rather irrelevant aspect to her character. Plus, that totally misses the point of what the movie is actually about: sex.
There is (very) slightly more to it, I suppose: Charming, commitmentphobe dentist Charlie (Dane Cook
) is attempting to romance the reluctantly interested Cam (Jessica Alba). But the real snag in the relationship is Charlie's curse/good fortune to be a lucky charm for the lovelorn -- women sleep with him, and find their one true love with the next guy they date. So after Charlie takes advantage of his abilities by plowing his way through half of the population of Seattle, he begins to see the curse when he wants to both sleep with Cam and also get to be her one true love. Article continues below
This does make for some funny moments -- though the funniest part is the opening 10 minutes, there were many times throughout where I laughed more than anticipated, and unexpected bits of cleverness came through with surprising frequency. There is nothing too lowbrow or too obvious to work for a laugh from Good Luck Chuck; any joke they can find, the filmmakers will use, from gross-out humor involving the obese and acne-ridden to slapstick involved in beaning a pretty girl in the face a bunch of times. Similarly, subtlety is not in the film's vocabulary, as joke after joke goes well past the point of decency. This is not a movie that takes its R rating lightly, nor will it be enjoyed by those squeamish about anything physical, sexual, or gastrointestinal.
Good Luck Chuck is hardly a good movie, though clearly nothing with a protracted (and creative!) sex montage is aiming for Citizen Kane status. Rather, it's essentially a somewhat entertaining juvenile male wish fulfillment romantic comedy. The supporting players, including an array of essentially faceless female sexual conquests, Cam's pothead brother (Lonny Ross) and Charlie's breast-obsessed, lewd, plastic surgeon best friend (Dan Fogler
), all give Good Luck Chuck a certain college-kid sensibility. The attempts to be true to the romantic comedy genre, though well-intentioned, are similarly occluded by a frat boy mentality; there is no Meg Ryan
date movie, for instance, that rests on the theory that it still counts as monogamy if you sleep with other people for your girlfriend.
So if it's too sophomoric and lewd to really be an endearing romantic comedy, yet way too clichéd and sappy to appeal to the juvenile young man crowd, then for whom, exactly, is this movie supposed to be for? Theoretically, if there are enough folks out there who are mad about the idea of a klutzy-but-sexy Jessica Alba, or there is a hidden market of fans of simplistic, outlandish man-boy humor and the women who love them, then Good Luck Chuck could be the perfect date movie. Barring those crowds, though, it's really just made for folks looking for a few laughs and not much else. It's possible, I suppose, that the film could have been better with a higher caliber of actor; both Cook and Alba are likable enough and entertaining enough, but neither is exceptionally talented. But in reality, this is a blow-to-the-crotch, boobie-shot kind of comedy, and there was little chance of it being anything more.