“Good Luck Chuck,” widely marketed as a romantic comedy starring comedian Dane Cook and Jessica Alba and opening in theaters yesterday, is being blasted by critics and moviegoers as “pornography” in terms usually reserved for bait-and-switch con artists.
“Pity the poor moviegoer who watches the commercials for ‘Good Luck Chuck,’ mistakes it for a light romantic comedy, and takes his prudish grandmother to the theater. There are at least two dozen graphic, profanity-filled and occasionally violent sex scenes in the film,” writes San Francisco Chronicle film critic Peter Hartlaub. “The picture ends with Dane Cook thinking up different ways to pleasure a stuffed penguin.”
The movie tells the story of a nice-guy dentist named Charlie, played by Dane, who was hexed while playing spin-the-bottle as a child. The result of the enduring curse is women who sleep with Charlie promptly find someone else as their true love. Charlie, not yet aware that he lives under a curse, soon becomes the target of a bevy of women who are convinced that they will find Mr. Right and a trip down the aisle if only they have a tryst with him first. After becoming aware of the hex, he relishes his “good luck” until he meets Cam, a penguin trainer played by Jessica Alba. His dilemma – having fallen for Cam, he knows he’ll lose her to someone else if he beds her.
Director Mark Helfrich leaves little to the imagination. The movie features nudity and crude humor, at one point splitting the screen into 16 separate copulation scenes as Charlie tries to keep up.
One WND reader who describes himself as “by no means a prude,” was shocked by the content, explaining, “I thought I was going to see a romantic comedy with Jessica Alba. Next thing I knew, I was inundated with witchcraft, graphic copulation with dozens of women, a man masturbating into a grapefruit, bestiality references and an opening scene which came close to being child porn. It’s like the movie went out of its way to celebrate perversion in every possible sense.”
The critics agree.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: “Here is the dirty movie of the year, slimy and scummy … There is a word for this movie, and that word is: Ick.”
Kyle Smith, New York Post: “‘Good Luck Chuck,’ a fungal little sex comedy, doesn’t need a review. It needs a tube of ointment and a shot of penicillin. … The sex jokes, all of them clammy and stale, are reminiscent not of ‘Wedding Crashers’ but of an Eighth Avenue peep-show booth in 1979.”
William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer “It tries to be a sappy love story, an incredibly vile gross-out comedy and an envelope-pushing soft-core porno movie all at once. It ends up being an unappealing abomination.”
Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: “The movie tries to be ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ at the same time, mixing serious relationship scenes with impressive levels of raunch, nudity and creative sexual positioning. … It’s worth mentioning for the third time that this movie is much closer to ‘Caligula’ than ‘Sleepless in Seattle’.”
Critics aren’t the only ones having their say over the movie’s promise of one thing and delivery of another. Readers of Yahoo’s movie reviews vented their own steam after seeing “Chuck” on opening day.
Viewer jessicadempsey blasted Cook for taking advantage of his fans.
“The ads for this movie promote it to be a funny, slightly profane romantic comedy. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. My husband and I walked out after being so offended and disgusted at the plot line (if you could call it that). … Mostly, the film is filled with an unfunny supporting actor bashing women and searching for ‘trim.’ Dane Cook takes advantage of women in some truly PORNOGRAPHIC scenes. It’s unbelievably distasteful and he should be ashamed that he’s using his rapport with fans to distribute this filth,” she wrote.
“My friend and I thought it was a chick-flick. Sooo not. I’ve seen naughty movies, this one was disgusting. It was a porn flick. It could have been so much better if the actors, writers, and producers had an ounce of class. My friends and I made an agreement upon leaving the theater to not admit to anyone we saw this movie. It was that bad,” wrote kuhl12004.
While those who have seen the movie and disliked it appear to be in the majority, “Chuck” has some fans.
Viewer arthurelchido wrote: “This was one of the best movies I have ever seen before and I have seen a lot of movies in my life. It was funny and romantic [and] has the perfect combination of everything. I wish that all the movies can come out with that perfect combination. Really Great Job to everbody – that means the actors and the director and staff.”
Practically calling “Chuck” the ideal date movie, sweetlala034 dismissed the critics.
“The people who were shocked by the profanity and nakedness should have taken a closer look at the rating – it is R,’ she wrote. ‘… My boyfriend and I left the theater thinking it was way funnier than either of us expected. So girls, if you like romantic comedies, this is one that has enough boobs and guy humor to entertain any anti-‘chick flick’ boyfriend.”
Lionsgate, the distributor for “Good Luck Chuck,” was recently praised by MOVIEGUIDE’s Ted Baehr for releasing two DVDs with distinctly Christian messages, “The Case for Christ” and “3:16 Stories of Hope.” Both were released with gigantic displays in Wal-Mart, Costco and bookstores (both Christian and secular) around the country.
The pair are among “the best evangelistic tools ever made,” said Baehr.
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.