Saturday, October 07, 2006

You, Me and Dupree

We've Got To Show Some Together-Ness!

If the saying Two's a Company and Three's a Crowd is anything to go along with, then the third person in a sacrificial team up here, is unfortunately Kate Hudson. Sure, the movie is about how the newlywed Peterson couple, Carl and Molly (Matt Dillon and Hudson) invited trouble into their lives when Carl's best friend Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson) "temporarily" lives with them, it's precisely her role as the frustrated wife turned sympathizer who gets less screen time, less development of sorts, and as a comedy, less of the laughs.

I'm unsure if comedies of such nature tend to like to take the dramatic route halfway, as even supposedly laugh-out-loud offerings like Talladega Nights (in another review) seem to like to venture into drama to say, hey, I've got a message here that I'd like to share, so that you can take something home with you when the lights come on. It's not rocket science, but a pretty apt reminder about achieving that perennial work life balance (come to think of it, if your wife looks anything like Kate Hudson, would you not choose to go home early everyday?)

The laughs stem from what you've already seen in the trailers, as with all (un)invited guests who stay at your castle, it's one thing being best of buds with someone, but a totally different ballgame when personal space is encroached upon and living habits clash. The comedy is focused just on the systematic destruction of the matrimonial home, in the figurative sense as well.

The characters of Dupree and Carl personify the conflicts of the modern day man in society today - that of the focused professional at work, delivering his best to bring home a larger share of the bacon, and that of the man who's at home to help out most of the time, which of course for a slacker (debatable here) like Dupree, it's a piece of cake. I'm sure most folks will identify with the never ending tussle for one's time to divide it amongst family, work and friends, in some order of priority.

It's been some time since Matt Dillon played a leading man role in a movie to hit the screens here, and I thought he's one of the most understated character actor out there who deserves more attention. Kate Hudson didn't have much to do, except perhaps to start that real life romantic rumour with co-star and one of the producers of the movie, Owen Wilson. Comedy has always been a staple in Owen's filmography, but here his character turned out to be plain annoying rather than fun loving. Even Michael Douglas' supporting role as a Gordon Gekko clone failed to break the lacklustre performance of the threesome.

Truth be told, You, Me and Dupree has very little genuinely funny moments, and it's stuck in the middle of trying to find ways to be funny, and wanting to include some serious message on family and friendship. The pace sags midway as it dallies its time in drama, leading to a plain run up to an ending which lacks the inspiration it aims to achieve.

Stay until after the end credits for a cameo appearance by a prominent sports personality mentioned during the story. And yes, eagle-eyed viewers who noticed that familiar Little Miss Sunshine yellow volkswagon van in a car park scene, it's rumoured the same one as both movies were in production at around the same time.

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