A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that since this movie imitates the raunchy comedy style of The Wedding Crashers and Judd Apatow movies, it might appeal to older teens who are fans of "hard R" comedies. But this one doesn't have its predecessors' charm, and even though "only" one character smokes pot, nudity and sex (both as a subject of conversation and the act itself) are ubiquitous, and in some cases downright disgusting. Women are discussed as if they were walking genitalia, obese women are the target of ridicule, and even 10-year-olds are depicted as sex fiends who want to actually "do it" during a game of "7 Minutes in Heaven." Plus, the idea that women are so desperate to get married that they'd sleep with a stranger is demeaning and sexist.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Dane Cook, who has somehow transformed from a slightly better-looking standup comedian into the go-to leading man for lowbrow romantic comedies, plays Chuck, a womanizing dentist who's dubbed a good luck charm by the string of married women who dated him right before meeting Mr. Right. With the coaxing of his sex obsessed pal Stu (Dan Fogler) and dozens of willing women, Chuck becomes every single girl's dream one-night stand. The movie's "romantic" storyline is fueled by Jessica Alba as Cam, the one girl Chuck actually doesn't want to lose to the "next guy." But if he seals the deal with her, he's convinced that she'll move on and leave him broken-hearted. Thrown into their supposed chemistry is the fact that Cam is a total klutz who keeps accidentally hurting herself and Chuck, who suffers mild stabbing, electrocution, and bonks on the head when he's around her.
Is it any good?
This is a sad excuse for a romantic comedy. Some comedies manage to balance raunch -- whether it's gratuitous language, sex, drug use, or some combination of the above -- with funny-yet-deeper themes about love (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), commitment (Knocked Up), or friendship (Superbad). But not all copycat comedies can effectively pull off the Judd Apatow formula for filmmaking. And in that case, what the audience is left with, as is the case in GOOD LUCK CHUCK, is just a bunch of offensive sex jokes.
It's all too precious and, frankly, rather unfathomable that Alba -- an actress so beautiful she's been called the sexiest woman in the world -- would have no better prospects than Cook's cad of a dentist. (And those hoping to sneak a peek at Alba's killer bod should note that she's one of the only women in the film who doesn't bare her breasts, although topless women seem to pop up in every other frame of the film.) Ultimately, if the prospect of seeing a woman with three breasts (Dr. Stu's dream girl) or of Cook being mounted by a morbidly obese woman or pretending to get nasty with a stuffed penguin appeals to viewers, this movie will be a hit -- but it's not likely.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the "raunchy comedy" trend. Why are sex- and swearing-filled movies so popular? Is this movie as successful as its hard-R predecessors, or does it fall flat? Why? Parents, ask your kids what parts of the movie they found offensive. Why was that the case? Did any of it seem romantic? Why or why not? Families can also discuss whether the movie's central joke is sexist or funny. Do you think women would really line up to sleep with a stranger just so they can get married to the next man they meet?
- In theaters: September 20, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: January 15, 2008
- Cast: Dan Fogler, Dane Cook, Jessica Alba
- Director: Mark Helfrich
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of strong sexual content including crude dialogue, nudity, language and some drug use.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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