In his last starring vehicle, the romantic comedy GoodLuck Chuck, funnyman Dane Cook played a bachelor afflicted with acurse dictating that any woman who slept with him would find true love with hernext boyfriend. Perhaps not surprisingly, it fared poorly at the box office.Undaunted, Cook returns this week with a similarly high-concept romanticcomedy, My Best Friend's Girl, and while it's a markedimprovement over his previous straight-to-video-caliber effort, it stilldisappoints.
Cook stars in My Best Friend'sGirl as Tank Turner, an unrepentant cad whose skill at offending theopposite sex is so prodigious that he's managed to parlay it into a ratherlucrative career, lending his services to desperate men wishing to reunite withtheir estranged girlfriends. When the unsuspecting women are exposed to the fullfury of Tank's vulgarity, they're so traumatized from the experience that theycome running back to their exes, desperate to get back together. Tank,essentially, is a professional a--hole.
Enter Tank's best buddy Dustin (Jason Biggs, in adramatic departure from his previous work), a cloying, socially inept doofus whoseclumsy attempt to take his budding relationship with co-worker Alexis (KateHudson) "to the next level" goes disastrously wrong. Unable to bearthe prospect of losing Alexis, he turns to Tank, who grudgingly agrees to forgohis strict policy of not working with close friends or family in order to helpout his lovesick buddy.
But their scheme quickly backfires when feistyAlexis proves a surprisingly worthy adversary for Tank. Their initial bellicositysoon develops into a friendlier, screwball give-and-take, which eventuallygives way to full-fledged attraction. Suddenly Tank, Dustin, and Alexis findthemselves trapped in an awkward love triangle.
I suspect that your opinion of My BestFriend's Girl will depend largely on your opinion of Cook, since themovie essentially acts as a vehicle for his shtick. The premise is indeed a perfectfit for the comedian's abrasive persona, and fans will no doubt revel in themany opportunities he gets to showcase his caustic brand of humor.
Biggs' character serves mainly as a sounding boardfor Cook's various comic theories on women and dating. Those of you hoping tosee him make love to another dessert pastry will be sorely disappointed. In therole of his romantic foil, Hudsonrepresents a huge upgrade over Good Luck Chuck's Jessica Alba.In fact, she out-classes her male co-stars to such an extent that I almost feltsorry for her. Then I remembered that she was in Fool's Gold, and my pityturned to anger.
Alec Baldwin issues a ho-hum cameo as Tank'sfather, an outrageously misogynist college professor of -- get this -- women'sstudies. On the other hand, the surprisingly hot Lizzy Caplan is a treat in therole of Hudson'spotty-mouthed roommate, if only because she's surprisingly hot.
In the end, what ultimately sinks My Best Friend'sGirl
's is its unsuccessful attempt to transition Cook's characterfrom brash, boorish jerk to charming, sensitive good guy -- something that eventhe esteemed Wedding Crashers
struggled to pull off -- inorder to make his eventual union with Hudson believable. (Don't act like youdidn't see it coming, Spoiler Police.) Meanwhile, Cook's act runs out of gaswell before the finish line of a comedy that clocks in at nearly two hours -- afrankly inexcusable length for a movie that should be constitutionally limitedto no more than 85 minutes.
Disagree? Let me know attleupp@Reelz.com.