There's a potentially cute pairing at the center of editor-turned-director Mark Helfrich's feature debut, but like everything else about this insulting romantic comedy, the Jessica Alba/Dane Cook love match is degraded by vile jokes, a boorish attitude toward women and a smutty tackiness not seen since those stupid nudie-cuties of the 1960s.
Hexed at the age of 10 by a pint-size Goth girl unhappy with the results of a game of "Seven Minutes in Heaven," dentist Charlie Logan (Cook) lives under a curse without knowing it. Every woman he sleeps with marries the very next man she dates, but since he's a womanizer with no interest in settling down, Charlie has gone blissfully unaware of this bit of preadolescent hoodoo until an ex publicly thanks him at her wedding, calling Charlie her "good-luck charm." Thanks to a posting on a popular dating website, word of Charlie's talent is soon out and his waiting room fills with large-breasted, unhappily single women moaning about their "cavities" in the nastiest possible way. Charlie is reluctant to take advantage of their desperation until his disgusting friend Stu (Dan Fogler) a plastic surgeon who specializes in boob jobs and masturbates to mammograms convinces him he'd actually be doing these pathetic creatures a favor. Women, Stu tells him, just want to get married and have no qualms about soulless one-night stands if they lead to landing a man who isn't a complete jerk. But after bedding dozens of love-starved women, including his own plus-size assistant (Ellia English), poor Charlie feels horribly objectified and is tired of being a stepping stone to the next guy. Charlie realizes he wants to be that "next guy" for lovably clumsy kook Cam (Alba), who managed to turn her childlike passion for penguins into a big-girl job at the local aquarium. Cam has heard all about Charlie's reputation and flat-out tells him she's "emotionally unavailable." But she can't resist a guy who compares her to a penguin: Cam may be awkward on land, Charlie tells her, but she's beautiful in the water (huh?). When Cam finally agrees to sleep with him, Charlie suddenly feels the full weight of the hex. If he's really a good-luck charm, then he's doomed to lose Cam to the next guy and must do everything he can to avoid sleeping with the woman he loves until he can somehow reverse the curse.
It's hard to imagine that Cook's second attempt at segueing from stand-up sensation to big-screen stardom could be any worse than his first, the relatively harmless EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH. But it is. The failure isn't entirely Cook's fault: Blame whoever encouraged the Tony-award winning Fogler to behave like a low-rent Sam Kinison imagine that if you dare and had the bright idea of tainting what could have been a slight but congenial romantic comedy with an endless string of boob jokes and a demeaning portrayal of women as lip-licking, sex-starved sluts who are helpless on their own. Even the pointless running joke about Cam's clumsiness comes off as misogynistic: Her pratfalls look more like painful physical abuse than funny physical comedy. leave a comment --Ken Fox