Carl (Matt Dillon, "Crash") and Molly Peterson (Kate Hudson, "The Skeleton Key") are ensconced in wedded bliss when guilty obligation arrives in the form of best man Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson, "The Wedding Crashers"), an irresponsible party animal who has lost both his job and his home over attending his oldest friend's wedding. Molly's understanding at first, but surprise, surprise, it is Carl who finally becomes fed up being with a marriage that has morphed into "You, Me and Dupree."
It's fitting that the directing brothers of the TV pilot of "Arrested Development," Anthony and Joe Russo ("Welcome to Colinwood"), have taken on this tale of the perpetual slacker, but the surprise it is that it is not the titular Dupree who is the real threat to the Peterson's marriage. That would be someone external to the household, Carl's father-in-law and boss, Mr. Thompson (Michael Douglas, "The Sentinel"), who is subtly trying to humiliate and emasculate his son-in-law. Otherwise, there will be few who do not recognize the template used by screenwriter Mike LeSieur, whose numerous storytelling misfires are almost covered by a game cast.
Owen Wilson is playing the part he is best known for - the shiny-eyed, philosophical slacker who is completely unaware of any adverse effects his karma may be causing. He's likable and amusing, even when straining through the typical rundown of bad houseguest behavior (the clogged toilet from "Fockers," the assumption of ownership privileges, etc.). He's better outside of the house, coaching the neighborhood kids and subconsciously sabotaging his own job interviews. Funnier is Dillon, whose straight line readings through his multi-level meltdown are beautifully timed. It's easy to feel this guy's pain and it's coming at him from two directions. While Thompson lays it on with requests to hyphenate his name, get a vasectomy, and unreasonable work demands that keep him away from home, the unwitting Dupree grows (innocently) closer to Molly. Kate Hudson has never been more fetching, both sexy and sensible. She's a realistic young bride who can become a smoldering sexpot in Carl's tortured betrayal fantasies.
The writing is clearly lacking from the onset, however, when Carl's friend Neil (Seth Rogan, "The Forty-Year Old Virgin") tells him of a pre-wedding 'emergency' that introduces Dupree as a screwup. Problem is that the emergency is resolved before it's even been declared. Dupree's 'calling,' his self-improvement spiel about everyone's unique 'ness,' is lame and there's no real motivation for Thompson, who throws a lavish Hawaiian wedding for the couple, to torture Carl (Douglas is also bland in the role). The most curious misfire is to give Dupree a love interest, Mandy, whom the filmmakers pointedly never show, then fail to use her appearance at film's end as a punch line - wait til the end credits and you'll get another lame stab at the 'ness' concept.
Still, "You, Me and Dupree" largely works because its three leads are well cast, doing what they do best. I can't imagine many beside Wilson pulling off a line about an Audrey Hepburn sex fantasy involving butter and having it come off as adoring and respectful.
Robin did not see this film.
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