Predictable and ordinary
By Lady Liberty
You, Me and Dupree
* out of ****
Let's be honest: There weren't a lot of options for new releases this weekend (unless you count yourself a Wayan Brothers fan, and I most certainly do not). That explains in a nutshell how it was that I ended up buying a ticket to see You, Me and Dupree. As it happens, I wasn't all that upset that I didn't have other viable options. I like Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon just fine, and I really like Owen Wilson (and who doesn't after his hysterical turn in The Wedding Crashers?). Unfortunately, I didn't like You, Me and Dupree at all.
You, Me and Dupree opens with the wedding of Carl Peterson (Matt Dillon) and his pretty fiancée, Molly (Kate Hudson) in Hawaii. Carl's best friend, Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson), has been tapped to be his best man. Dupree's antics at the wedding celebration alone gives Molly — and the rest of us — something of a taste of his ne'er do well lifestyle. The wedding toasts also give us a good look at Molly's real estate magnate father, the judgmental Bob Thompson (Michael Douglas).
In the way of many young and very much in love couples, neither Dupree nor Mr. Thompson can sully Carl and Molly's big day. When they return from their honeymoon, however, the trouble begins. Carl works for Mr. Thompson, and soon finds himself in over his head largely because Mr. Thompson wants to see him there. Meanwhile, Dupree can't hold a job at all and ends up broke and with nowhere else to go on the Peterson's doorstep. Molly reluctantly agrees that Dupree can stay with them "for a few days."
Over the course of the next week or so, we're "treated" to a series of toilet and masturbation jokes; a stuffed moose head lying on the hearth; and more than a few life lessons from a man who won't grow up but who "lives, loves, and laughs" to the fullest. We also have to watch Carl be sorely used and abused by his boss and father-in-law even as Dupree decides that Lance Armstrong (yes, the seven-time Tour d' France winner) has all the answers. Molly, meanwhile, is relegating to complaining that Carl's not home often enough while Dupree just won't leave.
Of course, bad things happen, understandings are reached, and everybody learns something before the all too predictable end of this thankfully not too long (108 minutes) movie. What a surprise.
Matt Dillon is a good actor. I thought he was absolutely incredible in the at-least-as-incredible movie Crash. But he's wasted here on a series of apologies and incredulous "I don't believe this is happening to me" looks. Kate Hudson, meanwhile, is a pretty girl and no slouch in the acting department herself. But she and Dillon have little chemistry, and her role as an elementary school teacher is much too much that of a woman who is frustrated beyond endurance by the fact that her husband isn't growing up as she wishes he would. Some of her dramatic lectures to her new husband are so bad they're shudder-worthy.
Owen Wilson is a brilliant comedic actor. If he had something funny to work with here, he'd be great. Unfortunately, he's given very, very little. That there are moments you'll smile at all (and there are a couple) is due almost entirely to the fact that he's just that good. Meanwhile, Michael Douglas may come out the best of the bunch as he shows a real joy in playing the role of a manipulative and overbearing father-in-law who knows full well what he is — but who blithely just doesn't care.
Directing team Anthony and Joe Russo (they're brothers) have a far more impressive television résumé than they do in the movies (the two have, for example, directed several episode of critical darling Arrested Development). While their work here is okay, they're also hamstrung by a lackluster script. Written by first-time screenwriter Mike LeSieur, You, Me and Dupree is utterly ordinary. It's entirely predictable in its plot, and it lacks either the drama or the humor to make it worth spending your time or your money.
You, Me and Dupree got no laughs from me at all, and I believe there were only two or three from the rest of the audience in the showing I attended (most of them from teen-aged boys). I fidgeted and yawned myself. And I get the idea I wasn't alone in my opinion: On my way out of the theatre, a voice behind me said, "Man, that was really bad!" That pretty much sums it up for me, too.
FAMILY SUITABILITY: You, Me and Dupree is rated PG-13 for "sexual content, brief nudity, crude humor, language, and a drug reference." I'd say that PG-13 is just about right, though some of the sexual innuendos make the movie suitable only for the most mature of 13 year-olds. Actually, I take that back. I'm not sure that You, Me and Dupree is really suitable for anybody.
Lady Liberty, a senior writer for ESR, is a graphic designer and pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her writings and other political and educational information is available on her web site, Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing House, at http://www.ladylibrty.com. E-mail Lady Liberty at firstname.lastname@example.org.