Could there be a more insufferable “genre” than the unwelcome houseguest comedy? The formula is always the same: Obnoxious loser moves in with norms, aggravates them to the point of lunacy. That’s it.
For one reason or another, telling the squatter to simply shove off is out of the question. And thus the public inherits such passive-aggressive comedic migraines as “What About Bob?” (1991) and “Surviving Christmas” (2004), movies as blissfully entertaining as a tax audit.
Add “You, Me and Dupree” to that unholy roster. Starring Owen Wilson as a mop-headed simpleton who makes life miserable for a pair of newlyweds (Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson), this is a vulgar, uneven tale of friendship and woe that coaxes its characters through the appropriate hoops by crudely expanding the limits of realistic behavior.
Wilson (“Wedding Crashers”) plays lovable loser Randy Dupree, and though we never actually see the character taking a bong rip, we can infer from his doltish behavior and drawstring pants that the guy must reek of weed.
In the beginning of the movie, Dupree nearly misses the Hawaiian wedding of best friend Carl Peterson (Dillon) because he flies to the wrong island. During the ceremony, he childishly insists on wearing a lightning bolt patch on his groomsman’s shirt to distinguish himself as best man.
Immediately, one must ask oneself why Carl would ever deign to hang out with a bleating imbecile such as Dupree. After all, Carl is a responsible adult, a semi-successful architect with enough charm to bag a lovely young woman such as Molly (Hudson), an inner-city schoolteacher.
The less-than-adequate explanation: Dupree is a shameless yet accomplished brown-noser. “I admire you,” he tells Carl during a moment of pre-matrimonial doubt. “Heck, that’s no secret.”
Back on the mainland, Dupree loses his job and is evicted from his apartment, so Carl — with Molly’s reluctant blessing — invites him to stay in their newlywed love nest for a few days. Inevitably, a few days becomes a few weeks, with all the expected toilet mishaps, coitus interruptus gags and red-faced scoldings.
Just when it looks like Carl and Molly can’t take any more of Dupree’s absent-minded, blissed-out baloney, the filmmakers turn the tables on us, per time-honored genre tradition. Antagonized in the workplace by Molly’s development-baron father (Michael Douglas), Carl is pushed to the breaking point, consumed with the paranoid delusion that Molly and Dupree are plotting an affair.
“You, Me and Dupree” might have been funnier — and better aligned — had the filmmakers embraced the subtextual creepiness of Dupree’s obsession with Carl. When Dupree sits down with Molly and tells her how to chip through Carl’s bearish exterior, it’s clear the filmmakers are flirting with something they can’t — or won’t — fully articulate.
>> PG-13 (sexual content, brief nudity, crude humor, profanity and a
>> drug reference), 108 minutes. Grade: D