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Movie Review: Good Luck Chuck

Good Luck Chuck
Directed by Mark Helfrich
Written by Josh Stolberg based on the short story by Steve Glenn

Popular (but strangely, to me, embattled) stand-up comedian Dane Cook hasn’t really translated well to the big screen yet.  His energetic stage shows make watching him in a conventional comedy a little strange, because I’m always looking for him to suddenly go off on a tangent and pull out his inner Jim Carrey.  His attempts at comic leading man have reined him into normalcy, like last year’s Employee of the Month.  In Good Luck Chuck, he seems to be finally getting closer to the manic stage presence.

Not to say Good Luck Chuck becomes a great comedy because of it, although it fires some good moments here and there.  The movie borders on guilty pleasure territory, but never quite makes it.

Charlie (Cook) is a dentist who, like many men, has a fear of commitment.  It comes to his attention that every girl he sleeps with finds true love on the very next try, and this reputation has begun to spread to the point that women are tracking him down looking for a good luck charm before they meet the man of their dreams.  This seems like an incredible opportunity to his blowhard friend, plastic surgeon Stu (Dan Fogler, last seen in Balls of Fury), and for awhile Chuck actually goes through with the concept with many, many girls (in the film’s funniest scene), until he finally wants something more.

Something more comes in the form of Cam (Jessica Alba), a penguin expert at Aqua World, a tremendous klutz.  Cam doesn’t want to get involved with Chuck at first, due to his reputation and the fact that he’s dated three of her friends.  Finally they start going out, but Stu points out that if they have sex, he’s going to lose her.

What follows afterwards is kind of painful to watch, a series of events that lead Chuck to become a stalker, and despite the movie’s addressing of how spooky it is, not really affecting his chances any more than what I like to call The Stupid Fight that you see in every romantic comedy when it is desperately looking for a third act.

On the plus side, this is Cook getting better, and I’m not sure Jessica Alba has ever been better.  Being accident-prone and self-deprecating certainly does wonders for her, especially since she’s always in a drone-like role in most of her movies, eye candy with lines.  But with the awful direction of the script, including the failure to address why Cam is the one who can break the curse (the film both supports and detracts the idea that it’s real), sinks this one unfortunately.  It’s almost worth recommending, but not quite. 

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