Dir: Anthony and Joe Russo. US.2006. 110mins.
The married couple at the centre of You, Me And Dupreemust endure an obnoxious new housemate - and their agony may be shared by manyaudiences in Anthony and Joe Russo's ungainly and largely unfunny comedy.
Opening on July14 in the US before working its way across the rest of the world throughout theautumn, distributors are doubtless hoping it will cash in on the prior successof stars Owen Wilson (last summer's $209m-domestic Wedding Crashers), KateaHudson ($106m-domestic How To Lose A GuyIn 10 Days) and Matt Dillon ($176m-domestic There's Something About Mary).
But with theexception of Mary, none of thosefilms performed as well internationally; in the US You, Me And Dupree will face competitionfrom My Super Ex-Girlfriend (starringWilson's brother Luke and opening July 21) and, to a lesser extent, WillFerrell's Talladega Nights: The Ballad OfRicky Bobby in early August.
Up against thoseobstacles - and saddled with a lacklustre premise andmarketing campaign - You, Me And Dupree may have to settle for ancillary markets tomake its biggest splash.
Adjusting tomarried life, newlyweds Carl (Dillon) and Molly (Hudson) have moved into theirfirst home. But when Carl's slacker best friend Dupree (Wilson) needs a placeto stay, Carl reluctantly allows him to sleep on their couch. But Dupree'sirresponsible behavior quickly tries their patience and tests the limits of hisfriendship with Carl.
Following thesame formula as recent hits WeddingCrashers and Old School, Dupree is ostensibly a male-bonding comedy aboutthe difficulties associated with commitment and adulthood. But unlike thosefilms, this new offering generates few genuine laughs and is weighed down by unlikeable characters.
In the past,Wilson has successfully played immature fools by revealing their sweetness andvulnerability. But directors Anthony and Joe Russo don't seem interested inthat necessary nuance, and so Dupree irritates on contact. Actions throughwhich he ruins Carl and Molly's life - setting things on fire,clogging up the toilet - are less charming or hysterical, more simplyobnoxious.
At least Wilsonhas a character to play, one that allows his personal charisma to shine throughon occasion. By comparison, Hudson and Dillon (and, as Hudson's overprotectivefather, Michael Douglas) can't find much in first-time screenwriter Michael Le Sieur's script to work with. The results are particularlyembarrassing for Douglas, who theoretically should have better things to dothan straining to be funny in bit roles, and Hudson, who stands around frowningor yelling while wearing a multitude of tummy-revealing shirts.
About halfwaythrough, You, Me AndDupree changes course for its potentially intriguing plot twist: Afterinitially detesting Dupree, Molly finds that he actually understands her inways that her husband doesn't. But this sliver of an interesting idea - thatour partner's best friend can give us things even our soulmatecannot - doesn't have a chance against the relentlessly contrived plot, whichdemands that Dupree always do the most inappropriate thing at any given momentso as to further complicate Carl and Molly's relationship.
The film wants usto understand that this self-proclaimed layabout,though at first glance insufferable, is ideally suited to help these newlyweds,offering overworked Carl a chance to let off steam while serving as a compassionate,sensitive ear for Molly - but this dynamic never feels like it's working, sincenone of these people generates any empathy.
United International Pictures (UIP)
Michael Le Sieur
Peter B. Ellis