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Overall Rating
2.38

Awesome: 5%
Worth A Look: 17.5%
Average: 22.5%
Pretty Bad: 20%
Total Crap35%

3 reviews, 22 user ratings


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Guy Thing, A
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Not terrible; the cast keeps it afloat."
3 stars

It took four writers and one director to deliver a convoluted comedy that at least five other young writer/directors could've had more fun with. (Kevin Smith would probably be number one.)

A Guy Thing ties itself into a Gordian knot trying to keep its own mechanism going -- the plot insists that nice guy Paul (Jason Lee), about to marry nice rich girl Karen (Selma Blair), instead fall for her cousin Becky (Julia Stiles). The morning after Paul's bachelor party, he finds himself with Becky asleep in his bed and without any memory of how she got there. To keep this apparent lapse a secret from Karen, Paul practices to deceive and weaves a tangled web around himself and the movie.

Add in a fair amount of meet-the-parents embarrassment (this movie could almost be a default sequel to Meet the Parents, and indeed the basic storylines for both were written by Greg Glienna, whose in-laws must hate him, or vice versa) and you have a not-especially-interesting comedy of discomfort, which could end prematurely at any point if Paul simply told the truth to the right persons. Yet I had a decent time with it, and I suggest you may have the same experience if you do what I did: ignore the plot and focus on the cast.

We can start with the first-billed Jason Lee, who really wasn't built to carry a movie (as it later turned out, he had better luck fronting a sitcom). He always looks more at home as a sidekick in Kevin Smith films, and when he isn't in one, more often than not he looks as if he's wishing he were. Lee can do flustered, and he can do goofy, both of which he's called upon to do here; the third thing, however -- love -- seems beyond him as an actor. Mostly, he just looks mute and pained when trying to express yearning. The movie doesn't quite know how to use Selma Blair, either. This delicate-looking comic actress has already racked up enough raucous onscreen humiliation (from Cruel Intentions to Storytelling to The Sweetest Thing) to challenge Ben Stiller's title, yet here she's cast as a presentable Nice Girl, sweet and dull. Blair does have one tiny, inspired moment, when she claps her hands primly twice before showing some unwanted visitors out (perhaps a mannerism Karen unconsciously picked up from Mom).

Julia Stiles, unlike the daring Blair, never embarrasses herself in anything, even in her first scene here when she's gamely trying her latest of many jobs, as a Kiwi dancer at Paul's bachelor party. Stiles drifts through this movie amiably enough, realizing it's something easy to do between semesters, but she makes room for one amazing bit when Becky meets Paul and discovers that her accidental bedmate is soon to marry her cousin. Stiles moves from shock to outrage before settling on a deep amusement -- you can identify the split-second when Becky decides she's going to have fun with Paul's anguish (he's been trying to avoid her all night).

Director Chris Koch seemed to have assembled a better-than-necessary cast for his one previous movie, 2000's Snow Day, and here he's got a dependable ensemble of old and new faces. The stand-out is an uncredited Larry Miller as Paul's neighbor, a minister who regards Paul with immense contempt for what he assumes is Paul's libertine lifestyle. Others making the 101 minutes easier include James Brolin and Diana Scarwid (has it been that long since Mommie Dearest?) as Karen's well-off parents, Julie Hagerty and David Koechner as Paul's more earthy folks, Shawn Hatosy as Paul's best man, Fred Ewanuick as a stoner pharmacy clerk who ends up cooking for the rehearsal dinner (don't ask), Jackie Burroughs -- still around, and still blissfully strange -- as Karen's wine-craving Aunt Budge, and Lochlyn Munro as Becky's psycho cop ex-boyfriend, who makes even the act of eating a sandwich seem like an act of aggression punishable by international law.

'A Guy Thing,' the textbook example of a low-expectation January release, would feel a lot emptier without the lively actors populating it. So focus on the cast -- when you happen to catch this on cable, or whenever.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6570&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/24/07 12:44:45
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User Comments

12/10/10 PAUL SHORTT SENSELESS AND WITLESS 1 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Was'nt all that great! 1 stars
1/23/06 Jeff Anderson Embarrassingly unfunny & Lee is badly miscast. Julia Stiles is the lone saving grace. 2 stars
8/15/05 love not the funniest movie but no so bad either 3 stars
3/13/04 Wlaclaw Kaczmierski I think I'm the Pole that Selma Blair stuck up her ass! 4 stars
3/08/04 Julia Stiles is a lovely flower but possibly should change her name. Stiles always have stigmas attached to them. It comes with the territory. 5 stars
1/19/04 Gretchen Seitz Jeez "Dust For Eyes", Julia Stiles's shrewish persona is insufferable. Don't ENCOURAGE it! 5 stars
1/18/04 Cheerleader who ran out of TP& has to wipe her ass with her pompoms Geez, What is it with Julia Stiles and guys who use shampoo bottles other than as intended? 3 stars
9/08/03 Amanda I enjoyed it, but it wasn't great, Jason Lee was the best thing about it 4 stars
8/19/03 Jeff THIS SHIT SUX!? 1 stars
6/22/03 John Aster Habig the best man character puts a decent enough twist and someone I can relate to 3 stars
6/05/03 Eloquency Zig-Zag What are you idiots talking about? Julia Stiles sucked giant festering cock in this movie 1 stars
5/07/03 JonBenet Ramsey's ghost Of all Julia's styles of acting, the first to do much for me. 4 stars
3/06/03 The Lurchprong Splitter Julia Stiles has finally extracted her head from her anus enough to show she has talent! 4 stars
2/28/03 Uncle Salty Aptly named, If "A guy thing" means the desire to commit ritual suicide. 1 stars
2/22/03 Jon Jason Lee what happened? 2 stars
2/04/03 jgfsjglksdf why? 1 stars
1/31/03 Pure Spring Water whatever it should do, Jason Lee doesn't and Julia Stiles does 4 stars
1/22/03 wishiwasdead I'm easygoing with romantic comedies, but this was 100% unfunny. And Julia Stiles? Blech 1 stars
1/22/03 ars Predictable but pretty funny 4 stars
1/22/03 snowconehead not that bad 4 stars
1/22/03 kosta kill me now 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Jan-2003 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  28-Aug-2003


Directed by
  Chris Koch

Written by
  Greg Glienna
  Pete Schwaba
  Matt Tarses

Cast
  Jason Lee
  Julia Stiles
  Selma Blair
  James Brolin
  Shawn Hatosy
  David Koechner



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