Review: 'Good Luck Chuck' lame and crude

Whether or not you appreciate Dane Cook’s spastic, hyperactive brand of observational humor, he cannot be held solely responsible for the unmitigated disaster that is “Good Luck Chuck.” As the lead in a romantic comedy with a fierce misogynistic streak to match its lack of fresh ideas, Cook is effective enough when he’s not incorporating the physical affectations of his stand-up act into his acting. As Josh Stolberg and Steve Glenn’s script becomes increasingly desperate, though, Cook the comedian emerges, but far too late to engender any goodwill.

Surely he should have known better. Perhaps somewhere along its journey to theaters near you, “Good Luck Chuck” seemed like a good idea — to Cook, maybe, who, as a boyishly handsome dentist and the most sought-after bachelor in the land, spends most of the movie groping scantily clad models and mimicking sex acts that have yet to be named.

But as a self-professed student of comedy who spent his youth obsessively studying stand-ups from Lenny Bruce to Sam Kinison, what was he thinking? He wouldn’t insult his audiences with material this stale from the stage; why should he do it on-screen?

When the smartest thing about a movie is its poster — in this case, an homage to a famous Rolling Stone cover featuring Yoko Ono and John Lennon in the nude — trouble awaits. In this case, it comes in the form of a relentless barrage of jokes that range from the depressing to the disgusting.

If the Grateful Dead can be criticized for opening the doors to meandering jam bands like Phish and Blues Traveler, perhaps it’s time to hold Judd Apatow and the Farrelly brothers accountable for the spate of lowbrow knock-offs like “Good Luck Chuck.”

Despite a competent cast — joining Cook are Jessica Alba and Dan Fogler (“Balls of Fury”), whose Tony Award-winning talents have earned him a cushy job as the fat, breast-obsessed sidekick — there is no saving the movie from its own crudity. Comedies based around the premise of scatological obsession are nothing new, but “Good Luck Chuck” aims lower than any in recent memory. All the greatest hits are here — sex, flatulence, morbid obesity, repeated pratfalls, even masturbation with a warmed-over grapefruit — and rarely before have they been delivered with such a lack of conviction.

Good Luck Chuck (No stars)

Starring Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Lonny Ross, Chelan Simmons

Written by Josh Stolberg, Steve Glenn

Directed by Mark Helfrich

Rated R

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

artsentertainmentOther Arts

Just Posted

Pharmacist Hank Chen is known for providing personalized service at Charlie’s Pharmacy in the Fillmore.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Left: A Walgreens at 300 Gough St. is among San Francisco stores closing.
Walgreens closures open the door for San Francisco’s neighborhood pharmacies

‘I think you’ll see more independents start to pop up’

San Franciscans are likely to have the opportunity to vote in four different elections in 2022. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Electionpalooza: SF school board recall will kick off a flurry of local races

‘It’s going to be a lot of elections and a lot of decisions for voters to make’

Four young politicos were elected to city government on the Peninsula in 2020. From left: Redwood City Councilmember Michael Smith; South San Francisco Councilmember James Coleman; Redwood City Councilmember Lissette Espinoza-Garnica; and East Palo Alto Councilmember Antonio Lopez.<ins> (Examiner illustration/Courtesy photos)</ins>
Progressive politicians rise to power on the Peninsula. Will redistricting reverse the trend?

‘There’s this wave of young people really trying to shake things up’

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Most Read