David Dobkin. Release Date: July 15, 2005. DVD Release Date: January 3, 2006.
Today starts my revised ratings system, which you can learn more about by going here. The green, yellow and red system just wasn't providing me the shades of gray that I would have liked.
I went to see this in theaters with my friends Genna and Jimmie. After the movie was over, the three of us had a little disagreement. Jimmie and I thought this was a very guy comedy, and Genna thought it was a chick flick. At the time, I thought she was completely out of her mind, but years (and several viewings) later, I realized that we were both right. This was a hybrid attempt, but within the same genre, an attempt to appeal to the musings of both male and female audience members. The cast: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams (pant, pant) and Isla Fisher were all cast to appeal to different facets of the male psyche. Most of the humor specifically targets those of us who pee standing up as well. Then, when it's too late to go and get your money back, the movie makes a sharp turn and suddenly you're knee deep in romantic speeches, passionate (and embarrassing) declarations of love, and a sudden and sharp decline in the nudity quotient. Those are characteristics I would certainly associate with romantic comedies (aka chic flicks).
If you look at the advertisements for the movie, you'd expect that it was 2005's The Hangover, that bust a gut laughing sort of comedy that most of us love. I didn't feel that way. The movie has a few scenes that are funny, but I get the impression that there was someone just outside the camera's field of vision that was encouraging or demanding some restraint. With Wilson and Vaughn in the film, I'd have suggested letting one or both men have their own leads and see what happens, but hey, I'm not a director.
Earlier this month, I griped about Christopher Walken and how he'd pretty much phoned in his generic bad guy role in The Rundown. That sort of applies here, even though he spends most of his time trying to convince folks that his family is the second coming of the Kennedys. He's better than I've seen him in a few years, but the performances that made him a star seem to all be the distant recesses of film history. I'd like to see something a little more current, because I know that the talent is in there somewhere.
Despite its faults, this movie is still totally worth visiting, or revisiting as the case may be. It's funny and has a sense of whimsy that most movies of its ilk no longer possess. I would have preferred if the movie could figure out what it was going to be and run with it, but it was good as is.