|Perhaps this film looked like a good idea when it was still a script. Maybe it went into pre-production with the hope that it would entertain audiences and make them laugh when it was put to screen. It is readily apparent though that this film's theatrical release (instead of a shot straight to video) was a rather unintelligent move. There are far too many unfunny moments and awkward plot devices littered throughout A Guy Thing to make it seem anything more than a big cellulodic mistake. Okay, so cellulodic isn't a word.|
But "bad movie" is. Two in fact. From the lack of appreciable chemistry between its main stars, to the clumsy presentation of its story, this film has quite a crop of problems. And it begs the question: how did the filmmakers not realize that every important element of this movie was going awry during filming? For example, did they not perform screen tests with potential actors? Because the love triangle involving Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, and Selma Blair just ain't happening. Romantic chemistry seems to have been a foreign word to the casting director here.
But even if the director and casting director (and anyone else involved in hiring negotiations) failed to realize that their three lead roles would be played by actors lacking sexual tension, they should have recognized that the script warranted a few extra rewrites. Like ten. To make it as different as possible from the mess it turned out to be. Perhaps that was the script's vice. Maybe it was rewritten once too often and what came out of the pipeline was a movie resembling a badly told joke on "Saturday Night Live."
Actually, that's an insult to SNL. Though what appears on the screen is definitely a poorly written script, there is also the chance that after negative test screenings, the filmmakers started making cuts and slashes to the running time of the film. As so obviously happened with Selma Blair's 2002 film, The Sweetest Thing. The title of that film had nothing to do with the actual plot of that film. And although the idea of "a guy thing" pops up in this film more than once, none of the jokes connected with it will not have you in stitches.
Well, perhaps one joke will. It concerns a character that has only about a paragraph's worth of dialogue and appears in only one scene. When Selma Blair's character finds a pair of flowered bikini bottoms hidden in the apartment she shares with her fiancé, Jason Lee's character, she questions him about the find. And when he makes up a story about buying them at some discount store for her, she believes he's lying and so she makes a call to the store and asks a cashier about the bikini. It's not the reactions from Selma or Jason that makes the scene the best one in the film. It's the dialogue from the checker and the elderly woman standing in front of him at the counter at the store.
It is quite a sad circumstance when the best performance in the film comes not from the head lining actors, but from a couple of one scene day players. That aspect right there dooms the film. Perhaps if the lead characters had had some synergy or spark, the script with the missing brain might have been palatable. And maybe if the script had been sharp, the luke-warm romantic triangle wouldn't have been so obvious. If the comedy had really been funny, the romance angle might not have even mattered.
Elements such as cinematography and the soundtrack don't seem to make much of an impact either, but neither sticks out as being badly done. If anything, aspects such as the art direction, costuming, and music were all competently done and though none were stand-out ingredients. If anything, this film suffers more from a lack of stand-out elements, whether they are physical (such as the cinematography) or mental (such as the story). With little to no character development and the absence of any true romance or likeable characters, this film fails on multiple levels.
Not only is the story quite lackluster, but Jason Lee's performance isn't as funny as it should be. And neither is Julia Stiles's. As the main comedic duo in the film, their interaction should be much more entertaining. And their attraction to one another should be much more convincing. But like all the different elements of this film, the compatibility of the actors is nonexistent. And the characters they play just don't have anything entertaining, intelligent, or worthwhile to say.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.