You, Me and Dupree

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You, Me and Dupree
Review (4/10)
(By Rich Cline)

Fans of Owen Wilson's specific brand of humour may thoroughly enjoy this movie, which feels like the next episode of a character franchise. Alas, the filmmakers can't get the balance right between comedy and cruelty.

Carl and Molly (Dillon and Hudson) have undue pressure on their marriage right from the start. Molly's smarmy billionaire dad (Douglas) owns the company Carl works for, and is the consummate smiling back-stabber, promoting and encouraging while undermining and emasculating at the same time. But even worse is Carl's best friend Dupree (Wilson), who's forced to move in with the happy couple and quickly derails their newlywed idyll. As Dupree begins a voyage of self-discovery, Carl loses the plot completely.

Wilson has created such an endearing persona that it's like we've followed him through a series of adventures in such films as Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Starsky & Hutch and Wedding Crashers, not to mention his Wild West incarnations in Shanghai Noon and Nights. The fast-talking, mischievous but genuinely good guy who's not as dumb as he looks wins us over every time. And Wilson does it perfectly.

But in this film it begins to feel a little sour, because the script has a vicious undercurrent--a lazy willingness to take the cheapest shot at everything and everyone. Dupree's carelessness becomes less and less funny, and Carl's subsequent breakdown is painful to watch. The actors are good, but the filmmakers tip the balance and leave a very bad taste in our mouths.

It also doesn't help that Hudson's character, despite moments of sharpness and energy, has one of the most insulting cutaway fantasies in memory. In a sillier film this could be merely politically incorrect wackiness, but here it's seriously tasteless. Especially when combined with Douglas' grotesque turn as a bad father and constant jokes about relational deceptions (like porn collections and boys nights out).

All this is a shame since the film's otherwise bright and lively. There are excellent themes here worth examining, and Dupree's specific journey is actually endearing and funny. But wrapped in this misjudged story it just doesn't work.

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