(2008)1.5Jeremy WheelerFrat-boy humor and tired romantic comedy clichés do battle in My Best Friend's Girl, the schizophrenic Dane Cook/Kate Hudson vehicle that tries -- and fails -- to meld two moviegoing mindsets into one cohesive comedic package. The problem isn't in the performers, per se. While Cook's brand of schtick isn't everyone's bag, he's proven to be a dynamic force for his audience -- just not for Hollywood as of yet. Hudson, on the other hand, flounders once again in the genre setting where she was once a queen of the screen. So what exactly went wrong here? If one had to point one's finger anywhere, it's clear that some dreadful miscalculations were made about this tale of a jerk who makes a living off of being a jerk to friend's ex-girlfriends so that they'll go running back to the jerks who hired the jerk to be jerky to them. In fact, one could say that the whole film is one massive miscalculation, since whoever thought that this mean tale would be a surefire moneymaker must've been out of their gourd.
First in the blame game has got to be the writing of the characters. Cook's Tank isn't a lovable schlub who can barely control his mouth -- no, he's a treasure chest of over-the-top obnoxiousness from the get-go. But still a good guy underneath, right? Well, he certainly flirts with redemption for a bit. And what exactly brings him around but Hudson's character, who seems immune to his gimmicks -- for reasons that are a bit unclear. Actually, they aren't, since it seems her only other option is to shack up with love-struck Jason Biggs, whose third-wheel character is just as unlikable as his buddy Tank, but presented in a far more pathetic light. With those kinds of choices, whom would you pick? Sadly the options of hitting another singles bar or simply becoming a lesbian were apparently off the table for this gal. But who can blame her? The moral compass of this movie is all over the place! It's one thing to have a vile character have an arc that redeems him in the eyes of the audience -- however, it's quite another to have a main character be so utterly reprehensible from beginning 'til end and still get the girl by the time the credits close.
What truly makes My Best Friend's Girl dreadful is the third act, in which Cook embraces his inner-sh*thead (on the advice of his scene-stealing dad, Alec Baldwin) and proceeds on a kamikaze mission of gross-outs that not only kills his chances with the girl (or one would think), but severs all rational goodwill he's built up with the viewers. It's a brash move by the filmmakers to steer the film away from the romantic middle section that the movie was already stumbling to sell. And who is behind this mess? None other than frequent John Hughes collaborator Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful), himself a veteran of the type of film that this picture so desperately half wants to be. Any inquiring audiences best pass on this one, lest they be indoctrinated with the virtues of contemptible matchmaking, never mind gratuitous product placement (from Marlboro, no less), some serious fantasyland big-city economics, and a heap of criminally unfunny material. On the plus side, there's a sacrilegious pizza joint called Cheesus Crust in My Best Friend's Girl, which earns the movie its one true home run of a laugh in a sea of strewn-together strikeouts.
Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, and Alec Baldwin star in this romantic comedy about a man (Cook) who makes his living convincing women to run back into the arms of the men they have recently dumped by taking them on the worst possible dates imaginable. The nightmare lothario's lucrative scheme hits an unexpected hitch, however, when he is hired by his best friend (Jason Biggs) to take out the beauty he longs to win back.