Review by Throwback
Just about every comedy these days has a very low bar to clear. Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that most humor in movies seems to be confined to the scatological or moments of sexual awkwardness. I’m not saying that there aren’t any more funny movies, just that comedy itself has been trending towards the lowest common denominator for a while. There are a lot of good comedies with these elements. There are also a lot of bad ones. Therefore, it was with great apprehension that I sat down to watch You, Me, and Dupree (rated PG-13).
It was 2006, but stop me if you heard this one. Man (Matt Dillon) and woman (Kate Hudson) get married. Man has a lovable loser best friend (Owen Wilson). Free-spirited lovable loser runs into some hard times and has to move in with newly married couple. Hilarity ensues. Sure, some of the trappings are different, but we’ve all seen the Night of the Annoying Houseguest in multiple forms already. Throw in the raunch factor, and we’ve got ourselves a movie. But was it a good one?
The acting side brings nothing spectacular to the table. Owen Wilson plays the same character he always does, only he’s not on an asteroid or tagging along with Ben Stiller. Matt Dillon takes his time here playing the straight man, which he accomplishes with varying degrees of success. The best portrayal in the movie was actually by Michael Douglas as Dillon’s creepy, controlling father-in-law. You tend to forget that Hudson is even part of the cast.
The jokes are about what you would expect. The standard poop item was there and was actually funny. Much of the remaining humor is bound up in sex and the overall discomfort of Dupree screwing stuff up and Dillon having to deal with it in alternating moments of defensiveness and outrage. So many other attempts just weren’t all that funny. Topping it all off, Owen Wilson is really the only guy with good comic timing and even that is thrown off sometimes by his need to speak every word of every line in ponderously drawn out fashion.
Which is why the direction really could have used some fine-tuning. Anthony and Joe Russo have directed some of the best shows on television, including Community and Arrested Development. They know how to make a comedy work, just not for two hours, I guess. Given that Hudson and Dillon are fifteen years apart in age, there needed to be a lot more development and work on their relationship. There wasn’t. If not that, then their dialogue needed to be refined to the point where believability could be established beyond their sleeping in the same bed. It wasn’t. I was left wondering what the shooting schedule was for the whole film. It seemed like something put together in about seven days.
There’s not really enough plot to suggest anything to a Catholic audience. You have an annoying, but loyal, friend. You put up with his annoying nature because of the friendship. I know that sounds like a very rough-edge characterization of what happens, bit I can assure you that I’m not skimping here. The waters don’t run any deeper.
I was a bit surprised that this was only PG-13 after watching. Dupree is caught having sex with a woman. Hudson and Dillon are interrupted so that they can’t have sex. The nudity is minimal, but nobody is going out of the way to be modest either (Wilson’s backside is seen; Hudson is in her skivvies). There are porn references and a good bit of foul language. There are probably plenty of parents who wouldn’t mind their teenager seeing this, but I would be uncomfortable.
If what I wrote sounds harsh, it’s not meant to be. I asked if the movie was a good one. Certainly not. However, I can’t really say that it was revoltingly terrible either. There were some funny moments. Certainly not enough to make me want to watch again. It simply exists, which means that you can find far better to occupy your time.