You, Me and Dupree

Year: 2006
Studio: Universal
Director: Anthony Russo/ Joe Russo
Producer: Owen Wilson
Cast: Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, Matt Dillon, Michael Douglas
Have you noticed how many films are exactly what you expect nowadays? Going to the movies used to be about giving you an experience of a new world and telling you a story you'd never seen before.

In the era of reduced risk imposed upon studios by their conservative media company owners, showing audiences something they've never seen before is just too hard to market. It's a much surer bet to pin a product on a personality or story audiences know - just look at the increasing number of sequels and remakes each year.

The tool to communicate that expectation to audiences is the trailer. Remember the line from the Titanic trailer spoken to Rose (Kate Winslet) by Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he declares his love for her? 'I've got ten bucks in my pocket and nothing to offer you'. We already knew the story of the Titanic, and that line contained everything we needed to know about the love story that formed the film's backbone - it was Romeo and Juliet aboard the world's most famous seagoing disaster. The result was that almost ten years later Titanic is still the highest-grossing film in history, despite everybody knowing what it was about and how it ends before they saw it.

If you see the trailer for You, Me and Dupree before you decide to see the movie itself, keep the matter of expectations in mind. To the casual observer, the whole plot looks like this; newly married couple move into their new home, finally alone together. Lovable, down on his luck loser and slob moves in, proceeds to wreck the place with inappropriate, bumbling and comic behaviour. Attractive couple's once-promising new union crumbles from the stress, they demand lovable slob leave in a fit of temper. When he does, they realise how empty the house is without him and lovable slob inadvertently teaches them the importance of friendship.

With more than a few twists and turns in a running time that feels much longer than it is, that's exactly what happens as Dupree (Wilson) invades the sanctity of privacy newlyweds Molly (Hudson) and Carl (Dillon) hope to enjoy.

Wilson is becoming this decade's Jim Carrey - a very distinctive personality in an expressive genre (comedy) who's starting to get boring, coasting through every role on the laid-back dude persona that made his name. He has some funny lines, but you can hear everyone from Lightning McQueen (Cars) to Hutch (Starsky and Hutch) in a character that might as well have been called 'Personality Cash-in Dupree'.

Hudson is as luminous and sexy as ever but has very little to do, and most of the remainder of the movie falls to Dillon and Douglas. The average politician has more character and charisma in a single toe than the woefully soulless Dillon can muster, and Douglas finally looks his age, a creepy sixty-year-old you wouldn't let near your young teenage sister or daughter.

Even though the whole thing (produced by Wilson) wasn't a very strong or original idea to begin with, TV directors the Russo brothers could have made it much more fun with sharp dialogue, decent casting and an adult edge that went beyond a few porn jokes. But the whole thing is a shambles of bad scripting, subplots that don't play out to any satisfaction and a complete lack of spark. See it only if you consider $15 ample investment to chuckle mildly four or five times.

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