2006-08-04 / Columnists


'You, Me And Dupree' - What About Owen?
By Robert Snyder

By Robert Snyder

Following in the footsteps of Bill Murray in 1991's "What About Bob?," actor Owen Wilson takes the role of the impossible houseguest in his newest vehicle, "You, Me and Dupree." Thanks to a stellar supporting cast (Matt Dillon, Kate Hudson, Michael Douglas), Wilson makes his ultimate goof-off routine work in what could have been clichd material.

Directed by the Russo Brothers (Anthony and Joe), "Dupree" follows the age-old formula of the softhearted middle-class couple, who allow a seemingly likeable ne'er-do-well to live in their home. In this case, it's the home of Carl and Molly (Dillon and Hudson), newlyweds barely having shaken the sand off their feet from an Hawaiian wedding/honeymoon, courtesy of her real estate tycoon dad, Mr. Thompson (Douglas, doing a wry take-off on his "Wall Street" Gordon Gekko).

The problem is that Randy Dupree (Wilson) has known Carl since kindergarten and was best man at the wedding. Finding him at a local bar, homeless and jobless, Carl invites him to stay at his house, without asking Molly. The next morning on their way to work, the couple are met with a vision of Dupree bare-assed, sprawling asleep in their living room. Carl can only say that his buddy has "never truly been domesticated."

What follows is a series of bad actions by the ultra-irresponsible Dupree. It's not that he doesn't mean well or have a good heart. He's simply determined to be a free spirit at the expense of everyone around him. This makes for some funny stuff, which finally turns serious with Dupree almost burning the house down.

"You, Me and Dupree" is the most recent in a list of Hollywood hits focusing on male arrested development ("40-Year-Old Virgin," "Failure to Launch," "The Breakup"). Hollywood marketing experts must feel there's a large audience of adult men who don't want to grow up. For "Dupree," the Wilson character has goofing-off down to a science, or a religion. In fact, he preaches it. At a job interview, he proclaims, "I don't live to work. I work to live." The slack-jawed interviewer watches as Dupree gleefully acknowledges that he's not the man for the job.

Even tough Thompson likes him. Though disapproving of his son-in-law, the big shot warms up to Dupree during a dinner at Molly and Carl's, inviting the loose cannon on the sacred fishing trip, reserved only for his closest confidantes (and Carl is in his employ, while Dupree is unemployable).

If you're up for another irresponsible adult male comedy, "You, Me and Dupree" may be your bet. It's also Owen Wilson doing what he does best... wiggling out of work in the wackiest of ways.

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