The plot is familiar. Odd, down-on-his-luck friend needs a place
to stay and quickly takes over the household, turning it upside-down.
Dupree (Wilson) is a hapless goof who can’t
hold a job and doesn’t seem to be much good at anything except
rallying the neighborhood kids to play baseball and ride skateboards
in the middle of the street. Meanwhile, Carl and Molly (Dillon
and Hudson) are a hardworking pair of newlyweds.
Carl works for Molly’s father, a Gordon Gecko-ish real estate
developer played by Michael Douglas. Molly is a
sweet schoolteacher who helps inner-city children.
Shortly after the honeymoon, Dupree moves in, and following a series
of mishaps, including a nasty toilet episode, he even succeeds in
burning much of the newlyweds’ living room to the ground.
Finally, Molly has had enough, and orders her husband to give Dupree
the boot. Here is where the film gets sort of interesting, and provides
most of its laughs. Dupree eventually moves back in, forming an
unlikely alliance with Molly, which leads Carl to develop an unhealthy
jealousy, which leads to preposterous fantasies and, ultimately,
domestic violence. But Dupree’s dolphin-flogging in the living
room while watching Carl’s Asian porn collection is far more
pathetic and sad than funny.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo,
released from their canceled television series “Arrested Development”
do their best with the material, written by first-time screenwriter
Michael LeSieur. Unfortunately, it never rises
above cliché-ridden, sitcom humor.
While Matt Dillon tries desperately to inject some straight-man
humor into the film, playing the put-upon friend and luckless husband,
he seems hopelessly miscast. This is a role that would have been
far better suited to Ben Stiller or even Owen’s
brother, Luke. Dillon is just too stiff and uptight
to be funny. Kate Hudson is acceptable as the devoted wife and daughter
who dreams of leading a normal suburban existence, but try as she
might, she will never be Goldie Hawn. And though
Owen Wilson succeeds at playing a big-hearted dope who can’t
seem to escape his own childhood, his presence quickly becomes annoying.
Perhaps it’s just too much scenery chewing.
More than anything, You, Me and Dupree cannot escape
its characters’ one-dimensionality. While the premise is not
wholly original, it might have been a much better film if the writing
were sharper and the casting a bit more inspired. To put it frankly,
there is about one ounce of wit in this ramshackle comedy. Unfortunately,
for such a star-laden Hollywood product, one ounce is not enough
to deserve a second viewing, or, if you value your time, a first
—Tiffany Crouch Bartlett