Slacker Dupree too unrealistic to work
"You, Me and Dupree" West Acres 14 PG-13 108 minutes One and a half out of four stars Everyone has someone like Dupree in their lives - a friend who is a little too needy, a social misfit who always manages to say or do the wrong thing and doesn'...
"You, Me and Dupree"
West Acres 14
One and a half out of four stars
Everyone has someone like Dupree in their lives - a friend who is a little too needy, a social misfit who always manages to say or do the wrong thing and doesn't know when to call it a night.
But no one could possibly be as outlandish in his clueless cloddishness as Owen Wilson's titular third wheel in "You, Me and Dupree." He's just too unrealistic, even for the sake of comedy.
The guy could not exist - and if he did, his friends wouldn't keep him around as long as Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson do.
Their characters, Carl and Molly Peterson, have just gotten married and are starting a life together when Dupree, Carl's childhood friend and best man, finds himself jobless and homeless. So he moves into the newlyweds' tastefully decorated Craftsman house for what Carl promises will be "a couple of days - a week at the most." (Molly reluctantly agrees to have him as their guest; then again, she never really had a choice.)
Naturally, Dupree proceeds to inadvertently wreck their home and their marriage. There are a couple of amusing lines and images in the film from directors Anthony and Joe Russo ("Welcome to Collinwood"), based on a script from first-timer Mike LeSieur. But eventually Dupree - and the movie itself - aren't nearly as cute or clever as they think they are. In fact, you'd like them both to go away.
The misadventures start small: He clogs both bathrooms (because a movie like this would be incomplete without gross bodily humor), changes their answering machine message and upgrades their cable TV to include HBO without permission. (Carl finds himself sucked into "The Sopranos," and Molly resents the additional expense. Are we sure these people should even be married in the first place?)
Eventually, though, the destruction becomes just too severe to bear. Dupree inspires Carl to invite the guys over to watch a football game while Molly is out for the night, which results in spilled beer bottles, cigar ash on the rug and strippers at the front door. At his worst, he nearly burns the entire house down when he re-enacts the butter scene from "Last Tango in Paris" by candlelight.
There's also a subplot involving Molly's wealthy real estate-developer father (Michael Douglas), who's also Carl's boss and who never approved of him marrying his little girl. Dad tries to undermine Carl at work - and Douglas is a perfectly smooth jerk, as always - which affects Carl's home life, which further exacerbates an already tenuous situation.
Through all of this madness, we are asked to continue rooting for Dupree. It's a difficult request, even though the film reveals sides of him that aren't so crass. He writes poetry, for example. He aspires to be the next Lance Armstrong. He is supposed to represent a mystical force in Carl and Molly's relationship, like Nick Nolte in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills": a figure who unexpectedly binds and strengthens them.
But truly, the role of Dupree is the same sort of unflappable slacker that has become the trademark of Wilson's career; following "Wedding Crashers," now he's crashing the marriage itself. Surely he can do more - as he proved in 1999's "The Minus Man," where he was chilling as a roaming serial killer - and he needs to remind us of that again.
The typically radiant Hudson, meanwhile, is squelched in a thankless part as the nagging wife. And Dillon is asked merely to serve as the put-upon straight man, surviving chaos both at work and in his new marriage.
After several false endings, this overlong comedy finally comes to a close. But for everyone involved, the honeymoon was over before it even began.