Film Reviews

YOU, ME AND DUPREE

By • Jul 14th, 2006 •

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Universal Pictures / An Avis-Davis/Parent production
MPAA rating PG-13 / Running time — 108 minutes

QUOTE: Hudson and Dillon are straight arrows for Wilson’s bespoke character. Fails to ignite comed

I pride myself in being the perfect houseguest. Before I do anything, I take a photo of the guest room. I don’t throw my clothes all over the floor or make the bathroom a methadone clinic/makeup counter. I make no garbage. Every morning I return the guest room according to the digital photo. I bring my own food. I come with a gift. I leave nothing behind.

I even alphabetize my hosts books and condiments.

How come I am so perfect? Because I’ve had houseguests who a) think they are either staying at a five star hotel with maid service, a valet, and personal assistant, or b) at a Motel 6 they can trash, and walk off with the Clorox-stinking towel.

Molly (Kate Hudson) is a saint. Even though her father, Mr. Thompson (Michael Douglas – that latest facelift photographs nicely), is a castrating billionaire, she is an elementary school teacher who is so sweet you’d think she was raised by Mother Theresa. Molly does not know anything about her father and he does not want her to be happy with her hard-working husband, Carl (Matt Dillon), who works for him. Carl’s dual personality is represented by his hair: he has a) real hair for work and b) fake, full curly hair for after-work.

Carl also has a best friend since kindergarten who Molly hardly knows. Dupree (Owen Wilson) has nothing in common with Carl except a childhood – which does not count in my book. Carl abandoned his hell-raising childish ways long ago, but still kept his sacred faux-gay friendship with Dupree.

Because Dupree has no clue that Carl and Molly have just returned from their honeymoon and need time to be alone, he agrees to their allowing him to stay with them for a couple of days when he is homeless and jobless.

Homeless and jobless? How did this happen? You would think DuPrincess just met patient Molly. These three characters have no history, regardless of dialogue pronouncing their familiarity.

Since Carl cannot express himself, he allows Mr. Thompson to bully him mercilessly. No matter what DuPrincess does, even cause a fire that destroys the first floor of her house, Molly likes him. Why?

Nothing in ME, YOU AND DUPREE rings true. Carl marries the boss’s daughter but everyone treats him like a cleaning man dragging a mop.

DuPrincess’s lack of interest in material things and “God-Will-Provide” philosophy is fine for him, but he does not make himself valuable as a guest. He’s not much fun, but soon, because Molly cannot demand her father give Carl a cushy job, she only has DuPrincess as a friend. If only he knew how to shop and accessorize, I could see the need for him in Molly’s orbit.

The movie picks up slightly when Carl finally goes into a rage, but ME, YOU AND DUPREE limps along without fully investing in the other characters. Sure, I love Owen Wilson, but if you expect WEDDING CRASHERS II, this is not it.

Because Molly must be a wonderful person who cannot bitch if Dupree drinks out of the milk carton or refuses to wash a dish, the screenwriter, Michael Le Sieur, has to have Dupree be a wild pig who hasn’t been house-trained, and even then, Molly’s reaction is dull-witted.

Maybe she’s on Xanax.

The premise is good but fails to capture the infectious charm of Dupree’s lifestyle on Carl. Perhaps that would have been more of a plot. What if Carl had gotten a mohawk and turned up at work? What if he had hired Dupree as a night watchman at Mr. Thompson’s United Nations-sized office building?

The directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, do not have the right comedic touch, even though they have Wilson as their star. Wilson is also listed as a producer – this was my first moment of dread. You know this is not a good sign; t means the entire film has been designed around the star and this cheats the other cast members on their character’s foibles and intent.


Credits:
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Michael Le Sieur
Producers: Owen Wilson, Scott Stuber, Mary Parent
Executive producers: Michael Fottrell, Sean Perrone, Aaron Kaplan
Director of photography: Charles Minsky
Production designer: Barry Robison
Music: Rolfe Kent
Costume designer: Karen Patch
Editors: Peter B. Ellis, Debra Neil-Fisher

Cast:
Dupree: Owen Wilson
Molly: Kate Hudson
Carl: Matt Dillon
Mr. Thompson: Michael Douglas
Neil: Seth Rogen
Annie: Amanda Detmer
Toshi: Ralph Ting

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