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The New Guy

Starring DJ Qualls; Eliza Dushku, with Lyle Lovett, Illeana Douglas and Eddie Griffin
Written by David Kendall
Directed by Ed Decter

IN SHORT: strictly for teens. [Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language, crude humor and mild drug references.]

What's a loser to do when he's loaded with an unwieldy name formerly used by a famous jazz player and can't even make it to the lower rungs of any kind of high school social caste?

Suicide is an option, of course, but we film critics have to sit through things that are incomprehensible to those whose ages don't end with the letters "teen," 'cuz it's the job. We'd love to try to explain The New Guy as better living through hanging out in the local penitentiary . . . actually, that's a major part of whatever it is that passes for a plot . . . but beyond that there's little more to keep us old farts interested in this fairly usual, "kick 'im in the nuts and the crowd'll laugh" comedy.

Except for the cheerleaders. There are a lot of hot looking cheerleaders. Enough to make us do our "gee, you sound like Homer Simpson when he drools" impersonation.

OK, half a page more to fill

When he was little, Dizzy Gillespie dreamed of being black and funky. If you're brain is screaming "Dizzy Gillespie was black!" you're too old for this flick. The joke that goes along with the first sentence of this paragraph has almost nothing to do with the rest of this movie, though the limitations of the second sentence of this 'graph also apply so we could have missed something. But we doubt it.

It seems like the only way to get ahead in high school these days is to get yourself kicked out and up the ladder, so to speak, to another school. It worked for prison inmate Luther (Eddie Griffin) who counsels loser Dizzy Gillespie Harrison (DJ Qualls) to get busted out of Rocky Creek High, change his name to "Gil Harris" and reinvent himself at a new institution, East Highland High. Sure, jocks at East Highland like lifer-in-training Connor (Ross Patterson) still hate the geek but there's something incredibly attractive and male -- emphasis on male -- about Gil that makes campus slut Courtney (Sunny Mabrey) offer all sorts of extracurricular activities.

We never said anything about "Gil" gaining any more intelligence in the shuffle from one school to another, folks. He finds his fame inspiring the football team to its first victory in eleven thousand years and a ready to explode rivalry when Connor's girlfriend Danielle (Eliza Dushku) decides that blondes may be more fun than bullies.

Still half a page to go. There's always half a page to go. It's a glitch in the mathematics.

Lyle Lovett is the idiot father. Illeana Douglas is the guidance counselor who believes that a male erection is an early sign of Tourette's Syndrome. Gene Simmons, in a role that has nothing to do with his real job as leader ofthe band Kiss, preaches abstinence. OK, maybe the subtle jokes work a little bit but we've been through all this teen crap year after year after year and it all looks pretty much the same. When we find something that makes us piss out pants, we'll let you know. No such problem occurred with The New Guy. Add additional cameos by musicians Henry Rollins and Tommy Lee, skateboard legend Tony Hawk, SNL's Horatio Sanz and the most popular man in Germany and there's still not enough to make us kick this over the rental level.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The New Guy, he would have paid . . .


Maybe we never should've stopped smoking dope . . .

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