02 October 2008

My Best Friend's Girl

Directed by Howard Deutch, Screenplay by Jordan Cahan

Starring: Dane Cook, Jason Biggs, Kate Hudson, Lizzy Caplan, Alec Baldwin, 101 mins.

** (out of ****)

For some reason, MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL has been receiving press not based on the movie itself but because of ‘comedian’ Dane Cook. Evidently his appearance here was horrid. I’m not quite sure that sort of criticism is warranted. Cook has two sort class of movies: the ones where he actually performs in a dramatic, real fashion (MR. BROOKS, DAN IN REAL LIFE) and the ones where he’s the comedic ass who wants the top-billed girl (EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH, GOOD LUCK CHUCK, this). This flick falls in-between the two mediums. Cook plays a ass, but – er, um – attempts to invoke a bit of humanity in his character (hence the bringing up drama). Look, you’re not driving to the theater and paying almost ten dollars to watch Cook play bloody Hamlet; with the exception of the two movies mentioned above, Cook plays the same character, so you come to this type of ‘romantic comedy’ to be entertained, and bottom line: it sorta succeeds.

Dustin (Jason Biggs) is deeply, head-over-shoes in love with Alexis (Kate Hudson), a co-worker from…work… They are sort of dating, but also sort of not. Alexis thinks Dustin is a sweet, awesome guy, but simultaneously not very much attracted to him romantically. Seeking to solve this dilemma and further the plot, Dustin enlists the help of his best friend/roommate, Tank (Dane Cook), notorious for his ability to be a pure, 100% asshole. When not selling air conditioners to clients, Tank also gets paid by ex-boyfriends who want their girl returned to them – and he does this by working his asshole magic and having the ex-girlfriends running back to their dear ol’ ex-boyfriends. Dustin just wants Tank to show Alexis exactly how much of a good catch he is, but a small, tiny problem arises during the date: Alexis doesn’t fall for any of Tank’s tactics, and they end up sleeping together. Tank slowly begins to fall for Alexis, and Alexis just wants some shagging. Will Dustin find out what Tank’s up to? Will Alexis fall in love with Tank, or be with Dustin? How does Alec Baldwin fit into any of this?

MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL is an alright movie. Much to my surprise, I actually laughed quite loudly (in the vacant theater) during one particular montage/countdown sequence. In the very beginning of the movie, the flick jumps between dates Tank have had and some of the tactics he’s used to repulse his companions. Some of these moments are pure, beautiful genius. The movie has its high points, surprisingly, but the rest of it is just sorta…there. Nothing exciting or new, nothing that will exactly make you want to recommend this ‘masterpiece’ to your buddies – it’s just a nice time passer. And that’s pretty much all I got to say about that, but I just want to touch on something else:

Jason Biggs. Damn, dude, I’m sorry your career isn’t fly-rocketing up. I absolutely love the AMERICAN PIE films (and can endure the direct-to-DVD ones with the exception of BAND CAMP) and after the third one, you could really have done something, man. However, you star in independent titles that don’t get adequate recognition, and your mainstream titles is merely redundant crap (that Woody Allen thing, like five years ago, OVER HER DEAD BODY, and this). I can forgive SAVING SILVERMAN because it was a funny movie, but the other ones weren’t. Biggs, buddy, please fire your agent and seek out some good roles.

There’s two things I haven’t mentioned yet: Lizzy Caplan and Alec Baldwin. Why? Because they’re barely in the movie and hardly worth mentioning. Caplan, not-so-much covered in dust and still has her body intact a la CLOVERFIELD, plays Hudson’s sexually open best friend who delivers the humorous one-liners and directs Hudson to the next plot point. Caplan’s character arc is predictable from beginning to its also funny end. Baldwin is Tank’s sexed up father (imagine a slightly younger Denny Crane/William Shatner) who delivers not-so-serious advice to his son. Yes, Baldwin does have some humorous moments, but frankly, nothing all that fantastic. You want Baldwin comedy, watch 30 ROCK.

So what is there left to say? See the movie or don't see a movie, it's not gonna make a bloody difference in your life; it's not the 'end-all-see-all' comedy (I nominate HOT FUZZ), but, as I said, a enjoyable interlude of everyday life to eat some popcorn and hang out with friends.

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