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Featured Review: You, Me & Dupree
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There’s so much terribly wrong with the terrible You, Me and Dupree that we can afford to be charitable and look at its positive attributes -- uh, better make that attribute, singular. Roughly 60 seconds in this film rank as among the most charming and romantic ever committed to celluloid, moments so magical that one’s faith in the power of cinema is momentarily restored. Unfortunately, that minute consists of footage from the Audrey Hepburn-Gregory Peck classic Roman Holiday, which slacker Dupree happens to be watching on TV. Shoehorning Roman Holiday into this cesspool of a movie seems almost cruel, the cinematic equivalent of throwing a newborn kitten into a pen full of rabid Rottweilers. Then again, inflicting pain - both on its characters and on hapless audience members -- seems to be the play of the day as far as this movie is concerned. Owen Wilson plays Dupree, a man-child (Hollywood’s favorite character type of late, as evidenced by The Break-Up, Failure to Launch, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and any Will Ferrell vehicle) who, left without a home or a job, is invited to stay for a couple of days with his lifelong best friend Carl (Matt Dillon) and Carl’s new wife Molly (Kate Hudson). It takes about 10 seconds before Dupree starts being a nuisance in the eyes of his hosts -- watching TV instead of searching for a job, sleeping naked on their beloved couch, and nearly setting the house on fire during a lovemaking session with a librarian that involves greasing her up with butter (shades of Last Tango In Paris, and probably the only time Wilson will have something in common with Marlon Brando). You, Me and Dupree will doubtless serve as the ultimate litmus test when it comes to one’s tolerance of Wilson’s patented hangdog slacker routine. Effective when used in the service of a likable character (Wedding Crashers, Meet the Parents), it’s endlessly irritating when attached to a role as obnoxious as Dupree. Individually, costars Dillon and Hudson are fine, but together they have zero chemistry -- their on-screen unfamiliarity with each other is so pronounced that one gets the idea the actors only met for the first time about two minutes before the cameras started rolling. A black-comedy specialist like Danny DeVito might have wrung some wicked laughs out of this material (his underrated Duplex shares a faintly similar plotline), but directors Anthony and Joe Russo, working from a laughless script by Mike LeSieur, rachet up the unpleasantness without leavening it with any compensating humor. And after an hour of the expected gross-out gags (backed up toilet, masturbating into a sock), the film decides to turn sentimental on us, involving Dupree in an excruciating chase sequence that somehow ends with this reformed couch potato saving Carl and Molly’s marriage, Carl’s job, his own self-respect -- in short, saving everything except the movie itself.