Thursday, July 20, 2006
Domestic Disturbance: “You, Me & Dupree” is a Very Unwelcome Guest
“You, Me and Dupree” is a bad movie. A very bad movie. And it’s not even one of those, so-bad-it’s-good movies. But I have to give it a little credit because there is something of deep value here: how to not write a screenplay. Everything the script does is insulting to not only the audience but to the characters as well. And I must give credit to Matt Dillon, Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson who are all appealing performers, but are trapped in a story and script that goes no where and refuses to let the audience be, in the very slightest, entertained.
Dillon and Hudson are newlyweds. Wilson is the best man. Wilson is one of those Van Wilder types who never grew out of his college phase frat boy-like behavior (hanging out in bars, getting drunk, hooking up with chicks, ya know the drill). I must say that Wilson’s character, although mildly annoying, isn’t very cocky just goofy and childish (yet the script apparently thinks he’s talented because halfway through the film he's apparently into poetry, reading Mensa books and a master chef). Before we know it Wilson, not surprisingly, has no job and no place to live. So it’s off to live with the newlyweds. Here is where I can give fine examples of how a script can maneuver the characters just because it can, not because it should.
At first, Hudson is not very happy that Wilson, as Dupree, has to stay with them. They’ve just moved into their new house and she’s happy to start living as a real married couple. Dillon insists that Dupree will only be around for a couple days while he gets back on his feet. Days stretch into weeks. Dupree does idiotic/annoying things while being the ultimate house pest. They wake up the first morning to Dupree’s naked rear end starting them in the face. Dillon insists he’ll buy Dupree some PJs. Oh and there’s the scene where Dupree nearly burns down the house during a buttery sexual tryst. Is that supposed to be a nod to Last Tango in Paris? Of course enough is enough and Dupree is kicked out (Not before getting hit by a car on his bike, which garnered a humbling, if predictable, guffaw). Then one cold and rainy night Hudson and Dillon come across Dupree sitting on a bench. He still has nowhere to go and, in a shocking role reversal, Hudson decides to let him come back to live at the house. And now Dillon doesn’t want him there. Is there any reason for Hudson's sudden change of heart? Of course not. Why do the characters act this way? The script says they can, so they do.
Then there are the strange inconsistencies. Michael Douglas plays Hudson’s roguish father who insists that his daughter not take her husband’s name. He feels that there’s a certain strength in a man’s surname and since he only has one daughter, his family’s legacy will be broken if her name is changed. He insists that perhaps Dillon hyphenate his last name to include both surnames. Yet, a few scenes later Douglas also insists that Dillon get a vasectomy because Douglas got one and it was the best thing that he’s done. It’s a safe in and out procedure, yet it means they won’t be able to have children. And with no children, how is Douglas’ name supposed to be passed on? You got me. And even still shockingly Dillon asks Dupree to fill in for him at Career Day at the elementary school where Hudson works. Would he really ask Dupree to speak at Career Day? Dupree. Career Day. The two don’t really go together (and the scene unfortunately doesn't even have a funny payoff).
You, Me and Dupree isn’t really even “passable” entertainment. You know the movies I’m talking about. Something like “Deuce Bigalow”, where every critic hates it. It’s a bad movie, and yet you can find something to enjoy or laugh about, no matter how cruel or poorly written it is. “Dupree” is just weak with hardly anything good worth mentioning about it.
Alas there were two visual jokes that I found amusing. In a rather strange subplot that goes nowhere, Dupree dates a nymphomaniac librarian (who we never see) and she has a funny bumper sticker on her car. It reads, “Do the Dewey.” You know, as in the Dewey Decimal System. I dunno it made me laugh. And one of Dupree’s shirts that he wears for the film’s last third reads “Say Hello to My Little Friend” and there’s a picture of a little garden gnome on it. I dunno it made me laugh. Nice job in the prop and wardrobe department. I wish I could say the same for everyone else. GRADE: D+