When I say that Good Luck Chuck is not quite as funny as losing a testicle to cancer, I am not using hyperbole. At least it's possible to enjoy gallows humor during chemotherapy; during Good Luck Chuck's wretched 100 minutes, I laughed one time, and it wasn't even a proper laugh, it was one of those sad little things where you actually say "ha ha" out loud.

The gag - I remember it well, being as it was the only time I laughed - involved a fat man hitting a child in the head with a Frisbee and deadpanning "nice save" by way of apology. Now, if that's the best joke in the film, I hope you can imagine what some of the worst jokes were like. Or rather, I hope that you cannot, because only a truly unhappy, crabbed mind could possibly imagine most of these jokes.

It is a customary argument of mine - oddly, not one I use very often on this blog - that there is no such thing as a "bad idea," only an idea that has been poorly executed, but Good Luck Chuck puts that theory to the test. Charlie (Dane Cook) - only called "Chuck" one time outside of the title - is cursed at a make-out party when he is ten years old and won't show a goth chick his penis, that he will never find love. This manifests itself, 22 years later, in all of the women he sleeps with finding their soul-mate immediately after. As women start lining up to screw Charlie, his evil fat friend Stu (Dan Fogler) thinks this is the best situation in life, but all Charlie wants is the hand of the lovely, accident-prone penguin-keeper at the local zoo, Cam (Jessica Alba), and he begins looking for a way out of the curse so that he can settle down with her.

Perhaps if you hopped in a time machine with that story and a gun, and gave the one to Ernst Lubitsch while you pointed the other one at his head, he might be able to turn it into a funny movie. But we don't have Ernst Lubitsch now; instead we have people like Mark Helfrich, an editor making his directorial debut (I am always shocked by how awful editors are in the director's chair), a man whose sense of comedy seems to consist of three points:

1) Bare breasts are funny
2) Dane Cook's naked ass is funnier
3) Dan Fogler screaming sexual euphemisms is funniest

Not since the truly evil Because I Said So have I seen a film so invested in the false notion that loudness equals wit. I think that Stu might be one of the most awful characters in current cinema, a shrieking misogynist on one hand (where we are, I believe, meant to laugh with him) and an ugly fatty on the other (where we are meant to laugh at him). He is a perfect storm of lowest-common denominator frat boy "humor": tits are funny because they're hot! and man-tits are funny because they're gross! And it's all wrapped up in a noisome package that delivers every gag like an icepick into your temple. Not stabbed in-and-out, mind - the icepick is jammed in and left there, and the next joke is like another icepick added to the first, so that by the end of the film your head is full of icepicks, like the lead Cenobite in Hellraiser.

Now, while it's fun and awfully easy to mock Dan Fogler, I only do it because he has so many gags that aren't funny, and I know how to deal with that. His co-star is a trickier matter, because he has gags that aren't gags. The internet surely does not need another disquisition on Dane Cook's terminal unfunniness, and I honestly haven't got anything to say on the topic. What's to say? Arguing why Dane Cook isn't funny is like arguing why Ike Eisenhower wasn't funny: the idea of "humor" doesn't really exist in the same circle as his persona. Nothing that Cook does has the appearance, however vaguely, of being what we classically understand to be a gag, and if his given profession wasn't "stand-up comic," I don't suppose that anyone would would understand that comedy was his motivation. Instead, he just seems to consist of the most unpleasant smirk in the history of filmed entertainment, and that smirk, which apparently indicates "I am being amusing," pushes the man squarely in the rarefied field of actors that I simply can't stand to look at without wishing harm upon them.

It's a hell of a thing to make a movie that can actually, soberly be called a waste of Jessica Alba's talent, but being pitched in between those two boys, and being given the task of adding gratuitous slapstick to every third scene, these are beneath the dignity of any human being. Which isn't actually the same as wasting her talent, but it's close enough.

The slapstick, man. The slapstick. It's one thing to be a dreadful T&A sex comedy: that genre is dreadful by its nature, the work of Judd Apatow and his protégés notwithstanding. But when slapstick is done poorly - and make absolutely no mistake, it's done very poorly here, as acted and as staged and as conceived (entire scenes seem to exist only so Alba will have things to fall against) - there is quite possibly nothing in all of comedy more unbearable, as anyone who has suffered through a terrible third-tier Three Stooges knockoff from the earlier '40s can attest. So when mediocre sex comedy and bad slapstick are merged? Comedy Armageddon. It's crossing the streams, and you know what happens when you cross the streams. All life as you know it stops instantaneously and every molecule in your body explodes at the speed of light.

Meanwhile, I'd like to return your attention to the poster up top. If you have maybe not seen the image it cribs from, please click here. Please be aware that cover photo was shot the day that John Lennon was killed. Please be aware that the film's producer has justified the poster on the grounds that the original was a romantic & funny photo, which makes it a natural to parody with a romantic comedy. Are you angry right now? You should be.


Then, at the end, Dane Cook goes down on a stuffed toy penguin. A scene jammed into the film much like this sentence is jammed into the review. Good lord, I hate movies.