A Guy Thing

on January 17, 2003 by Tim Cogshell
"A Guy Thing" has one strike against it going in: It alienates its potential female audience with its plot right off the top. When writing a romantic comedy, never, under any circumstances, construct a scenario wherein the male romantic protagonist is already married or engaged to a female romantic protagonist to whom he will not be married or engaged by the end of the movie. The point being, women don't like it when otherwise committed men get uncommitted in a film--even if the break-up is mutual--and go off with another girl, even if it's true love. They hate that. It's been the undoing of recent films like "The Wedding Planner," and it's also the central premise in "A Guy Thing." That huge mistake notwithstanding, it's also a not very funny movie. Which is another huge mistake.

Paul (Jason Lee, whose star is beginning to lose its luster after several bad movies, including "Stealing Harvard" and "Big Trouble") is a good guy engaged to Karen (Selma Blair, "Storytelling"), who seems like an okay girl. His friends give him the obligatory bachelor party at which he meets a cute dancer named Becky (Julia Stiles of "O"), with whom he wakes up naked in bed the next day. And she turns out to be Karen's cousin. And she has a crazy cop ex-boyfriend with steroid rage who has pictures of Paul and Becky together. It all sounds so funny--well, no, it doesn't, and it isn't. Not remotely. Not ever. For one thing, Stiles, who is an extraordinary dramatic actress, has no comic timing, while Lee, who can be quite funny, had nothing funny to say or do in the entire film.

As for the title, "A Guy Thing" alludes to the idea that there is an unspoken language through which guys intuitively know when to lie, spontaneously, with no questions asked, even if the other guy whose aid is being eliciting is a complete stranger. This is a ludicrous notion that ought to be funny, but also isn't. It's just insulting. Starring Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, James Brolin and Shawn Hatosy. Directed by Chris Koch. Written by Greg Glienna, Pete Schwaba, Matt Tarses and Bill Wrubel. Produced by David Ladd and David Nicksay. An MGM Release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for language, crude humor, some sexual content and drug references. Running time: 101 min

Tags: Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, James Brolin, Shawn Hatosy, Directed by Chris Koch, Written by Greg Glienna, Pete Schwaba, Matt Tarses, Bill Wrubel, Produced by David Ladd, David Nicksay, An MGM Release, Romantic comedy, bachelor, humor, love

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