Wednesday 4 March 2020

Movie Review: You, Me and Dupree (2006)

A comedy about love, friendship and finding a purpose in life, You, Me and Dupree carries enough laughs and originality to overcome the more mundane moments.

After an idyllic wedding in Hawaii, Molly and Carl (Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon) start their married life together, with Carl employed at the large housing development corporation of Molly's tycoon father Bob Thompson (Michael Douglas). Their lives are quickly disrupted when Carl invites Dupree (Owen Wilson), his friend from high school, to crash on their couch.

Dupree is kind and free-spirited, but his life has still not amounted to much. His sloppy presence creates tension between Molly and Carl, made worse by Bob giving Carl an unexpected promotion but also pressuring him into working long hours. Bob also makes it clear he believes Carl unworthy of marrying Molly and extending his legacy. With the marriage already in trouble, Dupree has to decide how he fits in.

Randy Dupree is a gentle soul, a loyal friend, a poet, aspiring cyclist, and a good cook. He is also hopeless at holding a job or finding any direction to steer his life, and an absolute expert at clogging up the toilet plumbing. Owen Wilson co-produced the film and gives life to an oddball combination of best friend and major irritant, and Dupree is the soul of the movie.

The first half is all about Dupree as a disruptor, but the second part veers towards left field as the guest cleans up and forms a bond of friendship with the emotionally abandoned Molly. The warped relationship triangle extends the film's reach, without ever threatening to break into stellar territory.

Michael LeSieur wrote the script, and with no more than about half the jokes finding a target, You, Me and Dupree bounces along a meandering path looking for detours to provide an edge. While imposing on Molly and Carl's hospitality, Dupree minimizes his job-seeking efforts and instead makes friends with the neighbourhood kids. Meanwhile Carl's stress level at work is cranked to eleven, Michael Douglas giving plenty of venom to too few ideas all related to demeaning his new son-in-law.

Brothers and co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo are perfunctory, generally standing back and allowing the stars to wrangle the material into the usual conflicts about trust, overcoming adversity and rising to the moment. Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon hold the middle ground and provide a platform for Dupree to perform his erratic orbit, themes of blooming late and discovering a calling emerging as warm-enough payoffs.

Seth Rogen appears in a small role as Neil, one of Carl's friends, socially suffocating in his own marriage. In an example of the film's underhanded slyness, Neil's wife and Dupree's crush are influential but never seen.

In You, Me and Dupree three's a crowd, but also reasonably good company.

All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.

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