I’m about to make some enemies here when I say that I’m not much of an Owen Wilson fan. I’m not sure why that is because I love Ben Stiller and I am a big fan of Luke Wilson. Perhaps it is just that I had not seen the definitive Owen Wilson movie, until now.
I almost declined to see “You, Me and Dupree” based partly on the fact that Owen Wilson was one of the leads and partly because I find a lot of today’s comedies just a little too sophomoric. However, I’m a huge Kate Hudson fan and I have always enjoyed Matt Dillon. So, I figured: What have I got to lose? I did lose something. I lost a lot of pent up tension because I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time.
The movie begins just as Carl Peterson (Matt Dillon) and Molly Thompson (Date Hudson) are about to get married. There to support Carl is his life long friend Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson). The audience is clued in right away that Carl and Dupree have been inseparable for as long as either of them can remember. It also sets up everything that is about to happen; the invasion of a third wheel in what is supposed to be a married relationship. Additionally, the audience learns that Carl is going to have some major problems with his new father-in-law (Michael Douglas).
Sure enough, almost immediately upon their return from the honeymoon, Carl discovers that Dupree has lost his job, his car, and his apartment. Feeling sorry for him, of course Carl asks him to stay him and his new wife. However, it doesn’t take long for Carl to realize that Dupree’s antics, which once seemed so natural and charming, now seem juvenile. He is nothing more than an overgrown kid who invites all of his friends over to play, makes a mess in every room he enters, and sleeps in the nude. As you might guess, it finally gets to the point where Molly becomes desperate to find a way to rid herself of this unwelcome houseguest. A series of mishaps leads to Carl finally asking Dupree to leave. He thinks everything is now as it should be. That is, until he and Molly see Dupree sitting on a park bench in the rain, obviously with no place to go. This time it is Molly who insists that Dupree stay with them. To make up for his former actions, Dupree makes a solid effort to stay out of trouble and to be helpful. Finally, Molly begins to see what drew her husband to his friend. Despite his inability to mature, Dupree has a genuinely good heart that longs to discover his niche in the world.
However, Dupree is only one of Carl’s problems. He continues to battle with his father-in-law who pretends to like his proposal for a new housing division and then goes about changing everything in Carl’s design. He also insinuates that he thinks that Carl should take Molly’s last name rather than the other way around. When Carl balks at that idea, he then suggests a hyphenated last name. Carl at first assumes he means that Molly should hyphenate her last name but he quickly discovers that Mr. Thompson wants him to hyphenate his name instead. As if all of this were not enough, he also suggests that Carl have a vasectomy to ensure that he and Molly do not have kids. Frustrated, over worked, and taken advantage of, Carl soon loses himself in everything that is going on around him. This is when the real story begins. Things keep going from bad to worse and it appears that Carl and Molly’s marriage may be doomed. Ultimately, it’s up to Dupree to get Carl and Molly back on track so that his best friend can live happily every after.
With all of his pitfalls and childish behavior, Owen Wilson still manages to give Dupree a puppy-dog quality that makes him lovable, even while he’s screwing up. Matt Dillon is the perfect foil for Wilson. He proves to be surprisingly funny as he tries to balance his old life with his new responsibilities and deal with his childlike friend. Kate Hudson is delightfully charming as Molly. So much like her mother (Goldie Hawn), Kate manages to light up the screen with a single smile, a twinkle of her eye, or a pout on her lips. Together, this trio make movie magic!
Michael Douglas is hilarious as the father-in-law from hell. He gives a remarkably restrained performance that is so different from the many tough guy roles that he has played over the years, that it is a pure pleasure to watch. Seth Rogers, in a supporting role as Carl and Dupree’s friend Neil is an absolute hoot. Never was a man so desperate to get out from under the thumb of a controlling wife.
While this isn’t a comedy that will go down in history, it is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours relaxing and having some fun. I suspect that is exactly what the Russo (Anthony & Joe) brothers had in mind.
“You, Me and Dupree” is a Universal picture in conjunction with Suber-Parent/Avis-Davis Productions. It is one hour and 50 minutes in length and carries a PG-13 rating for nudity and sexual situations.