You, Me and Dupree
Back in the mid-70s,
Saturday Night Live had a classic parody of horror films called "The
Thing That Wouldn't Leave!" with an annoying, self-centered slob (played by
John Belushi) visiting a couple (Bill Murray and Jane Curtin) and completely
ignoring or missing all of their hints to get him to go. The skit was
short – it probably didn't run much more than a minute long – but it was a
hysterical look at social mores.
Now, about thirty
You, Me and Dupree has stretched that old sketch out to just under two
hours. It's still a very funny idea, though it worked better in sketch
form. You, Me and Dupree has some really good parts, but
overall the much briefer original skit had more pure laughs.
Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson
play Carl and Molly, a newlywed couple who are madly in love but already
have little cracks starting to show through. There is a certain amount
of tension due to Molly's father (Michael Douglas), who is Carl's boss and
honestly takes great glee in emasculating him on a regular basis. He
pays for their expensive island wedding, buys them a house which Carl could
never afford and plays passive-aggressive games with his job.
This tension is ratcheted
up when Carl allows Dupree (Owen Wilson), his arrested-development best
buddy, to stay with them when he loses his job and apartment. Dupree
is an immediate disaster and drives Molly crazy, he is childish, sloppy and
sexist, he walks around nude, constantly breaks things, comes into their
bedroom without knocking and has bowel problems.
Molly tries fixing Dupree
up with a nice librarian at her school out of sympathy for Dupree (and out
of that newlywed compulsion to fix up all their single friends, because
misery loves company.) Turns out that the librarian is not quite as
innocent as she believes and Dupree nearly burns the house down trying to
seduce her. Then when she blows him off, he becomes a whiny, lovesick
Through an odd filmmaking
technique, this supposed love of Dupree's life is never actually seen – you
do catch her legs or see her from the back a couple of times, but otherwise
the film seems to be hiding the woman who has so taken Dupree. This
just makes the whole thing even harder to buy – Dupree seems more like the
love-them-and-leave-them type, it's tough to picture him as a pathetic
stalker even without the fact that they are coyly refusing to let us see
what he sees in her.
However, as the movie goes
on it takes some strange turns – Carl starts to lose trust in his best
friend, Molly goes from hating him to respecting him and a comedy about an
annoying houseguest downshifts into a cautionary tale about putting one's
job before their relationships.
None of these characters
are in the least realistic, nor are their reactions to their predicaments,
but if you shut your mind to the ridiculous aspects of the movie, You, Me
and Dupree is a fun enough film. (7/06)