Good Luck Chuck
dir. Mark Helfrich
Opens Fri Sept 21
In Good Luck Chuck, "comedian" Dane Cook plays Charlie, a man with a curse: Once he sleeps with a woman, the next man she meets will be The One—so she'll get married and live happily ever after, but with someone else. According to Chuck, most women are so pathetically desperate that they'll happily whore themselves out if it means finding a soul mate, which means we get a lot of footage of Charlie fucking. But inside, poor widdle Charlie is lonely: "What's sex without love?" he whines. Enter Cam (Jessica Alba), who's clumsy and loves penguins: "You just can't help but smile when you see a penguin!" she inanely giggles. So Charlie falls for her, gets scared of his curse, and turns into a creepy stalker who smothers Cam, and none of it's romantic or comedic, and we also get 80 kajillion plugs for Budweiser Select™, and also some jokes about how disgusting fat chicks are. In summation, Good Luck Chuck is fucking terrible, and Dane Cook is a dull, unfunny jerkoff. (Actually, wait: Somehow, Cook has managed to trick Hollywood into paying him millions of dollars and letting him make out with Jessica Alba—so who am I to criticize? Props to you, Dane Cook, you dull, unfunny jerkoff.) ERIK HENRIKSEN
dir. Joe Nussbaum
Opens Fri Sept 21
A modern (and loose) adaptation of Snow White, Sydney White stars the muffin-faced Amanda Bynes, who has reportedly been funny in past projects—an allegation I'm skeptical of, given the stinking pile of unfunny garbage this movie is. Blah, blah, blah: Nice girl goes to college, clashes with the sorority bitches, joins up with the nerds, and restores integrity to campus social life, as seen innumerable times throughout film history. Oh yeah, and she lands the preppy, supposedly hot frat president, appealing to the laws of sexual attraction in some other dimension, where neutered mama boy WASPs constitute a lustful ideal.
But the plot needn't be so important: Movies like this skate by all the time with some good wardrobe, funny supporting casts, and other gravy components that make stupid brain candy taste so sweet. Alas, the closest this embarrassing turd comes to a laugh is when one girl admits that she farted.
What does this have to do with Snow White? Not much, aside from the fact that instead of a posse of seven dwarves, this Ms. White has seven dorks. That core sample of "cleverness" should be indicative of the standards set for this weak little movie: really obvious and lazy, and no fun at all. MARJORIE SKINNER
dir. Takashi Miike
Opens Fri Sept 21
Clinton St. Theater
Zebraman might be the most retarded superhero ever, but that's why he's so charming. Takashi Miike's 2004 comic book homage would feel like a too-easy spoof of Spider-Man or Batman Begins if the director's heart wasn't so obviously and earnestly in it. Clowning on everything from Ringu to Godzilla-style man-in-monster-suit fighting action, there's also a solid core of a story behind Zebraman: Shinichi (Sho Aikawa), a loser school teacher, starts dressing up as Zebraman, a forgotten Japanese superhero whose TV show was cancelled after only seven episodes. Inexplicably, while wearing his crappy homemade suit and skulking around his neighborhood, Shinichi gains Zebraman's powers ("Zebraman Double Kick!"), and—just as the old TV show boasted—"a striped hero emerges!" Soon enough, Zebraman is fighting mysterious, scissor-wielding villains dressed up like crabs, facing off with creeeeeepily possessed Japanese schoolchildren, and coping with some Ninja Turtles-worthy levels of mysterious green ooze.
About an hour in, Miike's movie goes all sorts of batshit crazy, getting comic and goofy and bewildering—which is pretty much the MO of a brilliant/insane guy whose wildly imaginative films blend animation, horror, slapstick, melodrama, and whatever else he can think of. But Miike's now-predictable unpredictability doesn't count for shit if there isn't anything to back it up; thankfully, here Miike giddily taps into superhero clichés, then crazily subverts them as only he can, making Zebraman an awesomely entertaining example of... well, whatever it is. ERIK HENRIKSEN