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You, Me and Dupree (July 13/06)

You, Me and Dupree casts Owen Wilson as Randolph Dupree, a perpetual loser who - following the loss of his job and apartment - moves into the home of best friend Carl (Matt Dillon) and new wife Molly (Kate Hudson). As expected, Dupree's sloppy hijinks begin to cause problems within Carl and Molly's marriage (Carl's tenuous relationship with his father-in-law, played by Michael Douglas, only exacerbates the situation).

Screenwriter Mike LeSieur infuses You, Me and Dupree with some of the hoariest romantic-comedy cliches one could possibly imagine, and there are consequently very few surprises to be had throughout the movie's overlong running time. The predictable character arcs (ie Carl stands up to his overbearing father-in-law, Dupree learns responsibility, etc, etc) and thoroughly routine plot points (including, natch, the dreaded fake break-up) are augmented by Joe and Anthony Russo's bland directorial choices, as well as the exceedingly erratic pacing with which they've imbued the movie.

The film's three leads deliver competent yet thoroughly uninspired performances, with Wilson offering up the latest variation on his laid-back, cool-guy persona (though he's still a personable, charismatic figure, his schtick has long-since lost most of its appeal). And while Hudson and Dillon are cute together, they're not given a whole lot to work with; they are, for the most part, trapped within the artificial confines of LeSieur's distinctly unimpressive screenplay. Periphery cast members such as Seth Rogan and Harry Dean Stanton (the latter of whom is wasted in a two-line role) generally fare better than their above-the-title brethren, but the bottom line is virtually everyone here deserves better than this.

You, Me and Dupree is ultimately as ineffective and underwhelming as recent comedic efforts such as Click and The Break-Up, which is certainly a shame given the presence of some genuinely talented folks both in front of and behind the camera (even the Russo brothers have shown some promise in the past, thanks to their work on the now-defunct Fox sitcom Arrested Development). And while it seems likely that the film will appeal to the increasingly indiscriminating populace (how else can one explain the monstrous success of Dead Man's Chest?), there's little here to keep even the most forgiving Wilson fan entertained.

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