You, Me and Dupree

| July 18, 2006 | 0 Comments

In just about every group of male friends there’s always one guy that lingers resolutely in stalled adolescence, unable or unwilling to grow up. A regular poster boy for Peter Pan Syndrome as everyone’s twenties fade into their thirties. He’s the life of the party, even when the party’s long gone.
For some reason this is strictly a male providence. It’s one that the current generation of comedians has tapped into with zeal. Think Jack Black and Adam Sandler films, or even Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without laconic, surfer-slacker Owen Wilson. His recent starring vehicle You, Me, and Dupree–Directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo (Welcome To Colinwood, Arrested Development)–is the latest in these odes to male arrested development.
You, Me, and Dupree opens in Hawaii at the lavish wedding of Carl (Matt Dillon) and Molly (Kate Hudson). They seem like the perfect couple, despite Molly’s overbearing father (Michael Douglas). Dupree (Owen Wilson) is Carl’s best friend and best man. He arrives late to the wedding, but just in time for the nuptials. During which he realizes that Carl, his life long best friend, is an adult now with different priorities.
From there the central premise of the picture takes hold. We return to life, and the mainland, where Carl and Molly are set to embark on their perfect life together. He works for her Father. She teaches grade school. They have plenty of thank you notes to write. Then they hit a bump in the road. Carl finds Dupree way down on his luck after the wedding and reaches out a helping hand. Dupree ends up crashing on the newlywed’s couch and copious friction in the marriage ensues.
At heart it’s a fairly paint-by-numbers comedic set-up with some modest potential for laughs. Unfortunately the Russo Brothers struggle with what direction to take it in at times, not quite sure what kind of movie they want to make. In the end You, Me, and Dupree comes across as an uneven, over long comedy with an identity crisis that reigns itself in too much when it should just cut loose. There are laughs, just not nearly as many as you’d think or hope for. You may expect from the trailer that You, Me, and Dupree is a Farelly Brothers kind of gross out comedy, but it’s not. It’s has some bathroom humor, but it’s more romantic comedy, and even dramedy , than anything else.
Owen Wilson does his best to rescue the picture from its identity crisis. He plays this particular Peter Pan well, becoming more comfortable in the role of Dupree as the picture progresses. It’s undeniable that he has a way with these characters. An ability to infuse them with a certain restrained grace that makes the laughs flow a little bit easier.
Unfortunately the supporting cast is largely miscast or underused. There performances don’t add much to the whole. Matt Dillon, as the straight man, seems lost. Michael Douglas is a quiet disappointment in the role of the manipulative father-in-law and Kate Hudson really doesn’t have a function in the story beyond that of visual relief. One bright spot, though, is Seth Rogan (The 40 Year Old Virgin) who plays Carl and Dupree’s friend, Neil. He manages to steal some laughs at unexpected moments.
Overall You, Me, and Dupree is a pretty harmless standard big summer comedy. It has its moments and Owen Wilson holds forth as best he can as the over-grown adolescent, Dupree, but unfortunately those moments are just too far and few between and Wilson’s performance isn’t quite enough to save the film from its conceptual identity crisis. All in all, you won’t be quoting lines from this comedy after you leave the theater, but it’s not nearly as bad as some of the other comedies out there this summer.

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