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IN SHORT: A dumb thing. [Rated PG-13 for language, crude humor, some sexual content and drug references. 101 minutes]
Oh, what a stupid movie . . . and we're thankful that the twentysomething targets at our screening walked out muttering our sentiments. That means an extra two decades of age hasn't skewed our objectivity. Dumb is dumb.
It's a veritable truth that jokes are always "new" to someone. The first twenty minutes or so of A Guy Thing recycles gags that were old when we were young, twenty years ago. It isn't that the story is anything new -- guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl. The twist is that the girl he meets is not the girl he's engaged to. In between point A and point C are gags so desperate, they virtually get down on their knees and beg you to laugh. It was well past the halfway point before A Guy Thing generated any kind of big laugh from our audience. Once that happened, things eased up, simply because you don't go into a comedy expecting not to laugh. Once you endure at least half of a stinker , you'll grab at anything that is remotely amusing.
Paul (Jason Lee) is The Guy. Not an exciting guy. Paul loves Karen (Selma Blair, click for StarTalk). Paul works for Karen's father (James Brolin) and this marriage is a definite step up in his world. Not one to take chances or seek out cheap thrills, Paul isn't about to get stinking drunk or avail himself of the scantily clad tiki dance girls about to thrill a room full of incredibly drunk party animals at his bachelor party. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice . . .
Next morning, Paul wakes to find one of those dancers, Becky (Julia Stiles) sleeping starkers in the bed next to him. He doesn't know how she got there but he does know that Karen is on her way over to take care of last minute details for the pending nuptials. He must ditch the girl and hide any evidence of her presence which, in this case, is a piece of underwear that's gone missing. That accomplished, all is well with the world . . .
Except that a) Becky will land half a dozen different jobs over the next three days, all of which will bring her into contact with Paul and b) Becky is Karen's cousin so she's at all the pre-wedding festivities and c) Becky's ex is a psychotic cop who's had men tailing her, taking photographs of all her encounters. Paul takes a beating. Becky takes Paul to the lunatic's apartment to steal the negatives -- she's got a key to the apartment but they've got to bluff their way through the front door buzzer system. And on we go with those wacky gags!
The jokes are lame. The physical gags are lamer. There are desperate attempts to mine class warfare and drunken Irish generic jokes as well. All the screen chemistry in the world cannot save what strikes us as a bad, a really bad, first draft of a script idea -- and it took two pairs of writers to accomplish this???. Feh.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to A Guy Thing, he would have paid . . .
Only a brief appearance by the very funny Larry Miller, as a minister who nearly begs for someone to object to the forthcoming marriage, provides any humorous respite.
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