A Guy Thing (12A)
Things aren’t going well for Paul Coleman (Jason Lee). His wedding is looming, he’s enduring wedding preparations from hell with stiff fiancée Karen (Selma Blair) and her snooty middle-class parents, and the bloke next door thinks he’s a pervert. Oh, and he’s just woken up in bed with a singing hula girl.
For Paul, everything that can go wrong is going wrong. Karen’s ex-fiancé and Paul’s rival has photos of Paul and the hula girl together. Karen discovers the hula girl’s panties hidden in the loo. Porno pictures he throws in the trash keep being scooped up by his neighbour’s wide-eyed son. And the hula girl, Becky, turns out to be Karen’s cousin. Whoops!
A Guy Thing is an above average US teen comedy that bases the majority of its laughs on a combination of farce and full-on wacky silliness that is a breath above lowbrow, but not much.
The comedy action is led by Lee’s reactions to the various calamities that befall him. His continued run-ins with the suspicious neighbour bring a ready smile, as does the moment when, fearing he has crabs, he scratches his crotch with a pointing stick. Best of all is the sequence when he and Becky (Julia Stiles) find themselves trapped in the ex-boyfriend’s bathroom while his psychotic pet dog stalks them outside.
A Guy Thing is a rom-com designed for teenagers and single twentysomethings. TV director Chris (Scrubs) Koch, here making his feature debut, dwells heavily on Paul’s horror of the weight of expectation forced upon him – a blue-collar guy being swept headlong into a white-collar world. Of particular enjoyment is the performance of James Brolin as Karen’s tough businessman dad and the man who will be employing Paul as soon as the ring goes on Karen’s finger.
Stiles and Blair, two of the better crop of young American stars, effortlessly essay the roles of spoilt brat and fun gal, while Lee has to work harder as the lad with a plateful of problems. He fares well against a largely contrived script (by Greg Glienna, the man behind Meet the Parents) and comes through it largely unscathed.
Better than Two Weeks Notice but less impressive than How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, A Guy Thing is sub-standard and patchy. Still, many of the laughs come easily and the end result is a pleasant enough diversion.
Star rating: **