Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Best Friend's Girl

Get Your Own Girl!

Back in 2005, Will Smith starred as Hitch, the romance doctor who volunteers his service through close referrals, to help luckless and clueless guys woo the woman of their dreams. His consultancy reaps big rewards, and audiences lapped it all up, with the provision of perhaps some pointers that could be put to good use. Now in My Best Friend's Girl, it takes a twist to this Hitch character, and Dane Cook becomes the Anti-Hitch. The objective is slightly different - you should already be hooked up with your lady love, but when the relationship seems to come to a cool off or a standstill, you engage Tank (Cook) to be the arsehole who will make your loved one appreciate you a lot more, and get back into your arms.

He prides himself with achieving results in 10 steps, and most of the comedy stemmed from his being a total date/dick from hell, and if you're to employ his techniques, then you're likely to earn a reputation for being the biggest arse out there, though sometimes the brashness, directness will also be likely be attractive to those who like to hang out with bad boys. So while Tank does what he does best, his best friend Dustin (Jason Biggs) decided to engage his services, in order to help get Alexis (Kate Hudson) toward him, by providing some push factors, making her realize that nice guys like him don't come too easy. In the spirit of Murphy where things will go wrong, the rule of thumb will ensure that the helper will fall in love with his/her mark.

It sort of reversed some roles here, where the women now subscribe to the philosophy of also sowing their wild oats, before they decide to settle down. For Alexis, she seemed to be missing out on a lot of fun since she rarely goes out on dates, so once convinced, it is at Dustin's expense. Which again puts Jason Biggs into a stereotypical role of a loser who doesn't get any, stemmed from his popularity that went all the way back to American Pie. Kate Hudson continues her role as the ditzy blonde to perfection, and while not exactly a role to showcase her acting chops, she does make a fine on screen couple with Dane Cook, and this show looked tailor made for him.

Dane Cook doesn't get a lot of lead roles, but I feel that all that might change real soon given his revelation here. From flicks like Employee of the Month, Dan in Real Life, to Good Luck Chuck opposite Jessica Alba, he seems on track to become a romantic leading man, even though it's on the romantic comedy track. He continues his ladies man role and extends it to here, and with permission by the filmmakers to adlib and improvise his lines, needless to say he steals the spotlight from everyone here, and has room to stretch his acting chops as well. Watch out for some truly hilarious moments in scenes from his character's workplace, where his career as a customer service tele-operator (also from hell) just cracked me up.

And Alec Baldwin couldn't not be mentioned. Once a leading man of sorts, his career on the big screen gets relegated to support roles, from Elizabethtown to this role here as Tank's dad Professor Turner, who's still an active Casanova made easy when being around young and nubile students, though a character that isn't something not done before, such as Ben Stiller's dad in The Heartbreak Kid.

What worked for My Best Friend's Girl is the tussle between the good guy and the bad guy as they pull no punches in wooing the opposite sex. We don't see much of this tussle personified and go up against each other in the same film very often, and here we perhaps get to examine what probably works, and what doesn't, and that whichever school you subscribe to, it's again not about how much you're giving to try and make someone happy, but whether you're giving the right thing that the other party needs.

It's somewhat refreshing in its treatment of the approach to relationships here, and the M18 version screened meant that it was edited in so bad a way that a huge chunk of a scene got unceremoniously dumped on the cutting room floor. It's not the sexy bits (nah, Kate Hudson still kept it rather PG) nor the incessant cursing, but rather perhaps (I'm guessing from what came before and after a jarring you-won't-miss-it cut) some offensive fun poked at a religious girl out on a date with Tank, that couldn't escape the scissors, or required a higher rating.

And to think that 2 Live Crew's Pop That Pussy blaring out loud would have been more offensive. Still, this comes recommended for those who need your staple romantic comedy.

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