You, Me, and Dupree (3/10)
by Tony Medley
Owen Wilson is a member of a
group of comics, including Will Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, Jim
Carrey, and writer Wes Anderson, who are doing their best to ruin comedy
as a force in motion pictures, and this film is right in line with that
goal. They appear in each other’s films and have been responsible for
some of the worst attempts at comedy of recent memory, like “Anchorman”
(2004) and “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004).” Wilson has made
a substantial number of unfortunate decisions, like “Shanghai Knights”
(2003) and “Starsky and Hutch” (2004), among many others. Just horrible
As for me, sometimes fate
deals you a great hand. I was early for this screening and sat through
this entire 105-minute film. My guest was an hour late, so only saw the
last 45 minutes As a result of not having had to sit through the first
hour, she liked it and I thought it thoroughly deplorable. There’s a
moral there somewhere.
How bad is it? Despite his
bad taste in pals and choices of films, I am an admirer of Owen Wilson.
He was in two movies I liked, “The Big Bounce” (2004), which went almost
straight to DVD, and “The Wedding Crashers,” (2005), so he can do good
work. I also admire the abilities of Matt Dillon. Even Michael Douglas
has had his moments. Kate Hudson, on the other hand, is not high on my
list of favorites. So? So the only thing I liked about this movie was
Kate Hudson. Dillon is miscast as the lead in a romantic comedy, and
Wilson is once again burdened by a fatuous script and story (Mike
The story is truly flimsy.
Carl Peterson (Dillon) gets married to Molly (Hudson) and move into a
house. Randy Dupree (Wilson) becomes homeless, so his best friend, Carl,
asks him to move in with him and Molly, without consulting Molly.
Predictably, Dupree is a jerk. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have
signed on to what is now de rigueur in Hollywood, picturing all
males in movies as insensitive imbeciles. Carl and Dupree and their
friends make the jerks in the beer commercials look like a meeting of
the Founding Fathers, they are such derivative clods.
Dupree makes the Peterson’s
new young married life a living hell. Molly is unreasonably
understandable, despite Dupree’s continuous idiotically childish
provocations. Then, poof! With no reason whatsoever, Molly, who up until
the magic moment, has been suffering this fool ungladly, becomes his
biggest fan and supporter. There is no explanation for why she put up
with Dupree’s foolishness before and no explanation as to why she
changed her tune (when it shouldn’t have been changed).
Hudson starts off as nothing
but a beautiful smile. She does have a beautiful smile, but it is
anything but ingratiating. In fact for my money it’s the most irritating
smile in Hollywood because it is so commercial. She has become little
more than the Cheshire Cat, a smile with no substance. After this movie
gets going, however, she stops smiling and, as a result, becomes
imminently more appealing. Dump the smile, Kate, and you might find that
you are an actress.
A telling commentary on the
state of popular culture may be made by the low quality of films made
today when compared with other eras. The screwball comedy was invented
in the 1930s. It generally contained a protagonist who, even though a
screwball, was, generally speaking, not hateful. Katharine Hepburn was
odd in “Bringing Up Baby (1938),” but she was likeable. Cary Grant was
certainly anything but unlikable in films like “The Awful Truth (1937),” and
“His Girl Friday (1940).” The list is long, but in most, if not all, the protagonist
was likeable and admirable. Here, Dupree is irritating, selfish, and
inconsiderate. He barges in on the marriage of his best friend and
proceeds to act like an insipid, insensitive clod. Then the clueless
filmmakers turn him into this sensitive genius (we see him reading a Mensa publication, indicating a high I.Q.), but what he does to the
marriage and house of his friends certainly didn’t seem funny to me.
The only time I laughed in
the entire film was when Dupree was confused about a vasectomy. It was
funny, but if this is the way LeSieur and the Russos believe a genius
thinks and reasons, maybe it explains why they could foist what they put
in this film on the audience.
Given the intellectual level
of this film, it is not surprising that the ending of the film rewards
bad behavior. If you’re smart, it’s an ending you will never see.
July 8, 2006