|You, Me and Dupree (2006)
Starring: Owen Wilson, Matt Dillon, Kate Hudson, Michael Douglas
Director: Joe and Anthony Russo
It’s time to plant another tree in the BE Forest of Movie Badness. (See the review for “The Pink Panther” for further explanation.) And the worst part is that, had they made a few minor changes, “You, Me and Dupree” could have been a pretty decent black comedy or, if they insisted on playing the cute angle, the new “What About Bob.” Instead, it’s neither, thoroughly wasting the comedic abilities of some very, very funny people, not to mention 108 minutes of my life that I will never get back.
Owen Wilson stars as Dupree, the carefree best friend of Carl (Matt Dillon). When Dupree is fired from his job for attending the wedding of Carl and Molly (Kate Hudson), Carl takes Dupree in, much to Molly’s chagrin. Dupree, of course, is a horrible house guest (five words: butter, candles, “Funky Cold Medina”), and it is not long before Molly is calling for Carl to give his buddy the boot. Carl’s getting squeezed at work as well, where his boss Bob (Michael Douglas), who also happens to be Molly’s father, systematically emasculates Carl in every imaginable way. On the plus side, Dupree eventually becomes an ideal house guest, thoroughly winning Molly over. Carl, however, now thinks that Molly and Dupree are having an affair.
Upon further inspection, this movie has more in common with “What About Bob” than first meets the eye. Both Wilson and Bill Murray’s Bob begin their respective movies as the “loveable fuckup” (Wilson’s words, not mine), then slowly, and unknowingly, drive their last champions completely nuts. The difference is that “What About Bob” was in on the joke, whereas “You, Me and Dupree” isn’t even close. Perhaps the casting is part of the problem: Dillon can do funny, as he showed in “There’s Something about Mary,” but he’s also a little too good at playing an ill-tempered hothead (see “Crash,” if you must), and before you know it, Carl has gone from suffering friend to insufferable prick in seconds flat. And we haven’t even discussed all of the pancake-flat pratfalls, and that’s because, well, they’re not worth discussing.
You get the sense that the filmmakers wanted to tap into the improv abilities of Wilson and Judd Apatow regular Seth Rogen, who plays Neil, the horndog mutual friend of Carl and Dupree (an odd choice, given that Rogen is 14 years younger than Wilson and 18 years younger than Dillon). The reasoning is obvious: both actors starred in two of the most successful comedies of recent memory (“Wedding Crashers” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), therefore putting them in the same movie will surely create comedy gold. What they overlooked is that Wilson and Rogen were surrounded by other talented improvisers in their respective movies, whereas here they’re working with Dillon, Hudson (who’s surprisingly deft as the movie’s straight man, as it were) and Douglas, who does his best to conjure up the spirit of Gordon Gekko but doesn’t hold a candle to Dan Hedaya’s character in “Clueless” in the Overprotective Father category.
“You, Me and Dupree” is the mother of all examples of a movie choosing the easy way out over the right one. None of the characters are fleshed out in any way, and the whole married-men-are-eunuchs subtext is just lazy. Worse, the movie’s only new competition at the multiplexes this weekend is “Little Man,” which on paper looks like one of the Worst Movies Ever Made. My suggestion: fire up the grill, invite some friends over, and forget this weekend in movie history ever happened.
You already know how bad this movie is (see above), so there isn’t much point in convincing you to pick it up on DVD. The single-disc release includes all of the special feature basics (deleted scenes, outtakes and an alternate ending), but it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to a director (in this case, the brotherly duo of Anthony and Joe Russo) defend their movie with such fervor. These guys really do believe that they’ve made a funny film, but someone forgot to mention that just because they had a good time while making the film, it doesn’t necessarily make it a good film. If there’s one saving grace to all this madness, though, it’s in the featured spoof trailer, which transforms “You, Me and Dupree” into a horror film with Matt Dillon as the villain.