Three is a bore: You, Me and Dupree wears out welcome

Premiere magazine recently published a roundup of the fifty greatest movie comedies of all-time. “You, Me and Dupree” is unlikely to ever penetrate that canon.

Positioning itself as this year’s answer to “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” and “Wedding Crashers,” profitable summer comedies that tackle the perils of maturity and masculinity, “Dupree” falls short in both laughs and misery. The four leads constitute a quartet of Oscar nominees and the directors (sibling team Joe and Anthony Russo) spearheaded some of “Arrested Development’s” finest episodes, but the movie squanders its pedigree on the simplistic script of Mike LeSieur, a complete novice. The result limps along on subpar work that merely calls attention to how superior it could be.

The rudimentary plot is a tale that’s been told a million times over. Heck, even the marketing campaign touts how “Everyone has that one friend who never grew up.” A thirty-something guy gets married to his boss’s sexy blonde daughter. His best man stumbles upon some bad luck, losing his job, apartment and car. The new hubby (without the approval of the Mrs., naturally) invites his childish friend to bunk in their lavish house for a few days. The moocher doesn’t want to leave, becomes a nuisance and hilarity ensues. Or it’s expected to, at least.

As Dupree, Owen Wilson embodies yet another example of the overdependent manchild. To refer back to the Russos’ work, think Buster Bluth with less blueblood money and more frat-boy sex appeal. Wilson’s Dupree is an amiable enough lug, but he’s played this part before and often better.

The same can be said for Matt Dillon as paranoid corporate lackey, Carl, hawking the same rageaholic role he’s clung to since “There’s Something About Mary.” It’s nice to see that his career-revitalizing performance in “Crash” didn’t force him to rethink his choices. That’s dedication.

As the man who both signs Carl’s paychecks and sired his wife, Michael Douglas sleepwalks his way through his first big screen role in three years, a ruthless corporate slimeball archetype he perfected with Gordon Gekko and has been revisiting ever since. Sure, it’s for snickers this time, but that’s nothing new for him either.

Still, despite their rather onedimensional roles, the phallus packers are granted more to work with than Kate Hudson. All that distinguishes her Molly from thousands of other exasperated movie and TV wives is an unacknowledged, Betty Ford-worthy reliance on alcohol that, for a newlywed, can only be classified as alarming.

Carl is so obsessively fixated on his boss/father-in-law’s and Dupree’s attempts to destroy his marriage that he neglects the bottle’s more ominous interference. This unexplored undercurrent aside, her main function appears to be prancing around in as many scantily-clad outfits as a PG-13 flick will allow.

While Kate Hudson in skimpy clothing is hardly anything to complain about, it need not arrive in lieu of a deeply intriguing character. And yes, she too has played the faceless mechanical hottie to greater success in previous films.

For all its predictability and implausibility, “You, Me and Dupree” does supply a few giggles. A scene where Dupree learns the devastating truth about a recent lover’s promiscuity is executed with comic precision. Running gags about a vasectomy and a scatological abbreviation for best man don’t wear themselves thin.

But strides toward emotional impact are ineffective. Focusing on a thirty-six year-old man incapable of self-sustenance, the movie taps the zeitgeist of what’s been called “the Entitlement Generation” but avoids any insight on the highly publicized trend. Instead, the movie seems content to offer a couple broad chuckles and not much else. It couldn’t even distract me from my budding bladder infection.

Grade: C