Good Luck Chuck (DVD)

If you battle past the terrible title, punch away the “grotesque fat woman” misogyny and kick the cheesy tanned screen shots square in the goolies, this isn’t a bad 136 minutes at all. Given the blurb (“Big Dirty Laughs!” — Radio 1), I was expecting a sub-Norbit candyfest full of perma-tanned flesh and Loaded-esque cock jokes. And I was right: Good Luck Chuck has both the latter, but they’re almost offset by the fun characters and narrative, fast pace and guillotine-sharp lines.

The eponymous Chuck is a rugged nice-guy everyman, cursed at the age of 10 during a game of “spin the bottle” by a spurned vamp, and doomed to be the “last-but-one” guy whose girlfriends go on to date their true loves. His fame quickly spreads, and half-nekkid women begin launching their hot selves at him in the hope that they’ll go on to get hitched. But while Chuck’s repugnant best friend Stu urges him to take advantage of the situation, good-natured Chuck only wants one woman — the “emotionally unavailable” Cam. It’s a more-than-workable premise, nixed only by breast-obsessed Stu’s coarseness, the insistence that we find obese women revoltingly hilarious, and the parade of vacuous desperadas willing to use their bodies in order to secure a proposal (because that’s all every woman really wants, right?). There isn’t a smart or sensible female in the whole film: even Cam is a lovable penguin-nurturing ditz, showcasing a pathological clumsiness and gaining Chuck’s love through helplessness rather than wit.

However, the two leading men are almost as goofy, and there’s no intentional malice in the storyline. It’s geared primarily towards teenage boys (okay, maybe just boys, whatever age) and contains plenty of predictable but funny male fantasies and raucous slapstick, as well as getting mucho bonus points for advocating safe sex. Until 50 minutes in, there’s nary a duff scene, and I was gearing up to give it 4 stars, but Chuck’s stalkerish obsession with Cam is truly painful to watch, pushing the movie down to a 2 for the remainder. Worth seeing if only for the “toy penguin sex scene” over the credits. Brings a whole new meaning to the laddish “I’ve been banging my bird”.

EXTRAS *** Exhaustive to the point of “how much extra time did they have, and why didn’t they spend it on the latter half of the movie?!” Audio commentary with cast and crew, music montages, alternate scenes, deleted scenes, extended scenes, gag reels, ad libs, Easter Eggs and featurettes including Kama Sutra, Polymastia – Multiple Mammaries, All About Penguins, Good Luck Chuckles, Frank The Penguin Actor, Eleanor Skepple and Real Life "Good Luck Chuck". Enough already!

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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