In today’s New York Times, A.O. Scott is given the impossible task of reviewing the most highly-anticipated movie of the year, Good Luck Chuck. But what can you say? If you’ve seen the previews, then you know that it does more for laughter and peace in the Middle East in ONE MINUTE than A.O. Scott has done in his ENTIRE LIFE. I’ve pasted Scott’s entire review below, with a few CORRECTIONS:
Topless Girls! (And Other Things Far Too Wildly Hilarious to Mention)
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: September 21, 2007
I???ve occasionally heard Dane Cook, one of the stars of ???Good Luck Chuck,??? described as a comedian. I find this confusing because I am so stupid, since my understanding is that comedians are people who say and do things that are funny Excuse ME, Mr. Scott, but what is unfunny about stealing jokes and making a lot of fart sounds with your mouth? Oh, look who just got REAL quiet!. Perhaps Mr. Cook is some new kind of conceptual satirist whose shtick is to behave in the manner of a person attempting to be funny without actually being, you know, funny Or maybe you are so stupid and don’t even get his humor because you’ve never even been to college or seen a woman naked. If you weren’t such a sober virgin, you would know that Dane Cook was the PICASSO of LAUGHTER.. Or maybe he answered an ad in the back of a magazine and sent away for a mail-order license to practice comedy.There is no such thing. Duh.
Whether Jessica Alba, his co-star, acquired her acting credentials by similar means is an issue that will be addressed if she ever tries to act. To be fair (but why?) she does expend a little effort in ???Good Luck Chuck,??? pretending to be goofy and clumsy, doing stuff like running into a metal pole, catching her skirt in a car door and upending a tray of dentist???s instruments. All of these scenes appeared in the trailer, and all of them got a big BELLY LAUGH from America, because we weren’t all busy ordering lattes from our liberal limousines!
But the main audience for this dim little sex comedy is anyone who knows anything about anything, and also enjoys laughing really hard at things that are really funny has no particular interest in seeing Ms. Alba act. They want to see her in her underwear and also to confront one of the central cultural questions of our time: will she take her top off? Oh, and you don’t? Gay! Gay man!
No spoilers here! In the meantime plenty of less famous women do take their tops off, which will make ???Good Luck Chuck??? a must-see for young men with a subscription to Maxim but no access to the Internet. The intended viewership seems to consist of guys who fantasize about sleeping with Ms. Alba, If you are a big Gay O. Scott, then apparently you hate to see the beauty of a woman’s form. You should go next door to Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Because that is still playing in most theaters according to the logic of this bit. which may represent a reasonably large share of the population minus ten percent, if you believe science. The actual paying audience, however, will more likely be those poor, deluded souls ??? they???ve Hi-lited all the relevant passages of that notorious pickup manual ???The Game??? ??? who think they might really have a shot. They’re not poor, deluded souls. They’re AFCs and they’re well on their way to being MPUAs, so shut up, A.O. Scott. You couldn’t pick up a stripper at a dilapidated bar down by the airport if your hotel was right across the street from a grocery store!
The makers of ???Good Luck Chuck??? are geniuses (it was directed by Mark Helfrich from a script by Josh Stolberg) try for the blend of filth and sentimentality that has made movies like ???The Wedding Crashers??? (All-Time Classic) and the recent productions of the Judd Apatow atelier such big hits. What they end up proving (by negative example) is that even lowbrow comedy requires skill and intelligence skill like Dane Cook’s way around an original and unique premise, and intelligence like Jessica Alba’s face. Instead Whoops, you mean “Also,” they offer breasts which are awesome to straight people, penis jokes which are hilarious to people who understand comedy and a cavalcade of wildly unoriginal ideas. NO. I have never seen a penguin slide down a ramp and knock a beautiful woman into some water at the zoo, and I’ve seen over 25 movies.
Mr. Cook???s character has a doofus friend (Dan Fogler, in case the amazing, hilarious, super good comedy ???Balls of Fury??? didn???t satisfy your need to be reminded of his existence). Ms. Alba???s character is crazy about penguins. Hilarious. So smart. Her brother (Lonny Ross) smokes a lot of pot. Pot is a great source for great humor. Apparently the very notion of fat women having sex is screamingly hilarious FINALLY WE AGREE, MR. SCOTT, though not as funny as the image of a three-breasted woman or a chubby man having sex with a grapefruit.NOW YOU ARE IN MY BRAIN, APPARENTLY. (Typing that phrase turns out to be kind of amusing, but trust me, you don???t need to see it.)
It all ends with the guy running through the airport to bring back the girl, who???s about to take off for Antarctica. I mean, come on! You mean, come on! Let’s all go see this amazing film that will make Woody Allen turn in his grave (when he is dead) and say “why didn’t I think of that?”?
What passes for cleverness is the movie???s central conceit: Chuck (that would be Mr. Cook) suffers under a curse that causes every woman he goes to bed with to fall in love with the next guy who asks her out. When the local ladies find out about this, Chuck gets a lot of action, but then ??? after a long, split-screen montage of his priapic exertions ??? he starts to feel empty and used. SPOILER ALERT: THIS MOVIE IS A WORK OF ART. Me too. Exhausted from being so stupid about jokes and also being gay about sex. But if the logic of ???Good Luck Chuck??? holds, the next movie I see should be a masterpiece. Only if you go back for a repeat viewing of the only true masterpiece, Good Luck Chuck.
See you guys at the Times Square AMC this weekend, where I will be camped out, laughing and respecting women.