A Guy Thing

"Weak"

A Guy Thing Review


It's a week before you get married, and your bachelor party isn't treating you right. Someone called strippers, and that makes you a bit uncomfortable. But one of the strippers is so awkward and cute that you can't help but take her home and sleep with her. You're comfortable with that.

So goes the curious event that A Guy Thing -- a well-meaning but almost completely worthless trip through a minefield of infidelity, masculinity and self discovery -- is based upon.

The thing is, A Guy Thing's plot does not get any more believable as it progresses. It's powered by an increasingly hard to believe series of coincidences, so flagrantly employed that you might even start to believe that A Guy Thing is a clever parody of mindless romantic comedies. After finding Becky (Julia Stiles) in his bed and rushing her out of his apartment, Paul (Jason Lee) almost immediately bumps into her working a tollbooth. Then he's forced to confront her again at his engagement party, where Becky turns out to be the cousin of his fiancée Karen (Selma Blair). Becky's stalker cop ex-boyfriend spots her with this new guy and decides to beat the crap out of Paul on the street. A wild and unlikely description of a mugger actually turns up a suspect, who also drives the cab in the final scene. The priest who lives in Paul's building, who has seen this whole farce unfold before his eyes, ends up as the substitute official at the wedding. I could go on, but trying to cobble these chance occurrences as a story -- let alone an intelligent comment on genre films -- overlooks the fact that A Guy Thing just bulldozes along, stringing together incomprehensible events without purpose.

A Guy Thing floats the requisite clues that let us know that Karen might not be "the one" -- her motherly order of "seatbelts" strap Paul in physically and emotionally and Paul's car radio is always tuned to conversations of divorce on talk radio. Paul's brother fawns over Karen, giving the audience some idea of what the right man for her would be like. So you know it's only a matter of time before Paul realizes he should be with Becky, the fun-loving, job-jumping, Chinese-speaking cousin next door.

A Guy Thing places Paul among different (and not always appealing) examples of masculinity -- the pumped up aggressive cop, the dopey and lascivious best friend, the uptight and lonely brother, the alpha-male-future-father-in-law -- hoping he will choose one model of manhood and stick with it. Instead, he stumbles through the film totally boggled and without any concept of who he is and what he wants. Paul is such a schmuck that not only can you not understand what the free-spirited and beautiful Becky sees in him, but you have no interest in seeing him win out in the end. In one scene, we are forced to watch Paul throw himself into a dumpster on the demand of Becky's steroid-fueled psycho ex-boyfriend. Ugh. He is so confused and inactive it's a wonder that he was able to convince anyone to be with him, let alone have to choose from two beautiful and vibrant women.

Critics will invariably coo about how warm and funny Julia Stiles is, how this talented young actor is an asset to popular film. However, she has so little to work with in A Guy Thing that none of her talent is ever really on display. Her character has little quirks that are never explained, her character being given the depth of a wading pool.

In fact, most performances featured in A Guy Thing are developed through a series of declaratives, such as "I'm the uptight brother," "You're the crazy one," and "I am not stupid." Never mind that the behavior of the characters tells us otherwise.

Thomas Lennon delivers the best performance as Peter, the uber-repressed but obviously smitten brother of the groom. He's the only actor in A Guy Thing that pretends to remain involved with a scene when the camera is not pointing directly at him. The film's only moment of honest sentiment comes when Peter realizes something the audience has known for the length of the film, and comes through with a spontaneous and heartfelt a capella rendering of "Islands in the Stream."

At the point of Paul's crucial transformation he says, "I've been playing it safe. Everything I do is safe." A Guy Thing sticks so close to convention, and without any elegance or control, that the filmmakers could have only been thinking the same thing.

Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.



A Guy Thing

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th January 2003

Box Office USA: $15.4M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: MGM/UA

Production compaines: David Ladd Films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 24%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 75

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Paul Morse, as Becky Jackon, as Karen Cooper, as Ken Cooper, as Jim, as Ray Donovan, as Sandra Cooper

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.