The New Guy (2002)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Teen Movie, Romantic Comedy, Prison Film  |   Release Date - May 10, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Derek Armstrong

It may have been the only one, but there was at least one good decision during filming of The New Guy: the hiring of Lyle Lovett to play Bear Harrison, father of Dizzy Harrison (D.J. Qualls). Otherwise disgruntled viewers won't be able to hide their grins when seeing these goofballs side by side, their similar physical traits and behavioral quirks validating the efforts of casting director Nancy Nayor. But this is many more words of praise than The New Guy deserves. It's the casting of Qualls, unfortunately, that starts the film unraveling, before the script (by David Kendall) and direction (by Ed Decter) send it into a permanent downward spiral. An amiably eccentric supporting character in Road Trip, Qualls is an unlikely choice to carry a movie, even one in which the lead is supposed to be a dork. "Co-star" Eddie Griffin doesn't shoulder much of the load, as he's confined to a bunch of moronic prison training sequences at the beginning, during which Dizzy is molded into a would-be badass. But the script is the real criminal here, a lame rip-off of numerous teen makeover comedies, peppered with crass gross-out jokes. The film plunders from outside its genre as well, the most embarrassing instance of which involves Qualls on horseback, decked out in a Braveheart kilt and blue face paint, leading the charge on a rival football team. Two more good casting choices (Zooey Deschanel, Eliza Dushku) are wasted in one of the dumbest and most derivative teen comedies in years.