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
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes