A comedy starring the lovable Owen Wilson is destined to be a surefire hit, no? No. Not in the case of his latest vehicle: ‘You, Me and Dupree’.
There were several times during the film that you realized, with the grim realization that you had wasted your hard earned cash to see this, that this was more like a surefire flop. ‘You, Me and Dupree’ lacks, well, comedy. It just isn’t all that funny. And the bits that do successfully manage to raise a smile are so contrived and ‘try-hard’ that you feel guilty at even having found them amusing, let alone dared to laugh at them. In public, no less.
In fact, the entire plot is contrived. It is a poor story, and one finds themselves wondering who on earth gave the green light for this movie to go into production. There is no substance to it- ok, so it’s a comedy, starring Owen Wilson, and to be fair his films and ‘substance’ are rarely found in the same sentence, so this isn’t altogether a great surprise- and the plot is as thin as Victoria Beckham. Fair enough, it’s not a film that’s particularly cerebrally challenging you think, but that’s alright because it’s a piece of schmaltzy Hollywood entertainment: a romantic comedy. It’s not meant to be challenging or thought provoking. But the trouble is it falls short on all those scores. It’s not funny, and it’s not particularly romantic even: Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson seem hideously miscast in their respective roles, there’s a very noticeable absence of chemistry between the two. This isn’t helped by the fact that Matt Dillon looks so much older than the effervescent Ms Hudson. They do not look believable in the slightest, and they definitely don’t act believable either.
So, what about it’s entertainment values? Sorry to report it’s sadly lacking in that department too. As previously mentioned, ‘plot’ is a bit of a misnomer; there is no discernible plot to You, Me and Dupree. It just drags on. And on. And on. To cut a long story short: Dupree moves in with his best friend Carl (Dillon) and Carl’s (new) wife Molly (Hudson). Quelle surprise: this leads to all kinds of havoc. Carl and Molly nearly split up as a result of the ‘chaos’. Dupree then sees the error of his ways, becomes a better (more sane?) person and resolves to patch things up between Carl and Molly. Oh, and there’s a little “sub-plot” involving Carl working for Molly’s father (played somewhat convincingly by Michael Douglas) who is out to undermine him at every given opportunity. And there you have it: the plot of You, Me and Dupree in its entirety. Well, almost- chuck in some of Carl and Dupree’s friends who act as if they’re still eighteen, a clandestine box of Asian porn (don’t ask), and a billion dollar real estate development, and that really is your lot.
You, Me and Dupree is an exercise in puerile tedium that makes you wonder what on earth the cast were thinking when the signed up for it. Sure Matt Dillon’s and Michael Douglas’ careers are pretty much non existent now anyway, so it won’t do them too much harm, but Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson? Kate Hudson appears to have made an uncharacteristic error of judgment on this, and, perhaps, tarnished her unblemished record, but, hey, it’s nothing that a sparkly new girly rom-com won’t be able to fix.
It’s Mr Wilson that is the biggest surprise. After the barnstorming success of Wedding Crashers, You, Me and Dupree is even more of a disappointment. And it’s disappointing enough as it is thank you very much. And there’s the rub. You, Me and Dupree was obviously trying to be (and emulate the success of) one of the plethora of unisex comedies that flourished at the Box Office last year: Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers, Hitch, the list goes on. But that’s the funadmental problem: You, Me and Dupree isn’t unisex. It’s neither sex-there’s not enough in it to keep the men entertained, and there’s not enough in it to keep the women entertained. There’s nothing in it to keep anyone entertained, so, little wonder then that it’s fallen so spectacularly short of its counterparts.