For its first 20 minutes or so, the big-geek-on-campus comedy "The New Guy" gets by on a semi-fresh twist of tiresome teen clique themes and a well-cast lead. DJ Qualls -- the 98-lb. walking weakling punchline from 2000's "Road Trip" -- plays a bottom-of-the-food-chain bully magnet who changes high schools and reinvents himself as a wiry, uber-cool bad ass.
But as soon as the kid gets comfortable with his new studly status (insert stock scenes of trampy cheerleaders here) and we've seen Qualls' entire comical cool-jerk repertoire, the movie plum runs out of ideas and putters along on fumes until the closing credits.
Lazy and simplistic, when "The New Guy" isn't beating long-dead genre horses (Qualls feels guilty, for about two minutes, about dissing his "real" friends for the in crowd), it's a blender-edited mish-mosh of abridged plot points. Our hero apparently teaches everyone in his new school to get along, but we don't see how he does it. Before long campus hotties are hanging off the arms of dorks, overweight guys and other former outcasts. No explanation there either. Qualls' dad (Lyle Lovett) and former school counselor (Illeana Douglas) think his new style and attitude are signs of a drug problem, but that story angle is abandoned after about 30 seconds.
Continue reading: The New Guy Review