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A young groom to be has to choose between the right thing and the real thing when he falls for his fiancee's free spirited cousin.

Chris Koch
Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, James Brolin
Writing Credits:
Greg Glienna, Pete Schwaba, Matt Tarses, Bill Wrubel

He Finally Found The Perfect Girl.
Box Office:
Budget $20 million.
Opening weekend $8.006 million on 2515 screens.
Domestic gross $15.408 million.
Rated PG-13 for language, crude humor, some sexual content and drug references.

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Surround
English, Spanish, French

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 5/27/2003

• Audio Commentary with Director Chris Koch and Actors Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair and Thomas Lennon
• Deleted Scenes and Alternate Endings
• “Inside A Guy Thing” Featurette
• “Bachelor Party Confidential” Featurette
• “Groovy Gravy” Featurette
• Trivia Track
• “Are We Made For Each Other?” Interactive Quiz
• Photo Gallery
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Gag Reel

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A Guy Thing (2003)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 26, 2003)

Some actors simply seem best suited to stay in supporting roles. For whatever reasons, they provide their finest work as the buddy or the foil or whatever, and when asked to take the lead, they falter. I mean, who ever thought that Judge Reinhold would make a great leading man?

The same problem affects Jason Lee. In flicks like Almost Famous and Chasing Amy, he steals more than a few scenes in supporting roles. In 2003’s A Guy Thing, Lee takes the reins, but he does little with them.

In Guy, Lee plays Paul, a dude who faces impending nuptials. He’ll soon marry Karen (Selma Blair), and the film starts with the bachelor party his buddy Jim (Shawn Hatosy) throws for him. Paul meets “Tiki Girl” Becky. This is the inept dancer’s first – and last – day on the job, and the pair react well to each other.

Fast forward to the next morning, when Paul wakes up with Becky in bed next to him. The remainder of the film follows his attempts to hide his apparent infidelity from Karen, a problem that intensifies when he discovers Becky’s relationship to his fiancée. In addition, he starts to get to know Becky better, which complicates matters since it seems obvious that the pair connect very well. Paul deals with a mix of other issues like Becky’s jealous psycho cop ex-boyfriend Ray (Lochlyn Munro) and Karen’s father Ken (James Brolin), who also happens to be his boss.

That’s one of the shortest plot synopses I’ve written, but it’s not because I tried to be concise. No, Guy simply offers a meager plot. More like a long episode of Three’s Company than a feature film, Guy offers an extremely weak story that exists solely as an excuse for lots of wacky gags.

Five years after the success of There’s Something About Mary, we’re still dealing with its imitators. Guy doesn’t quite embrace the ultra-gross stylings of flicks like Road Trip and Saving Silverman, but it tosses in more than enough genital and excrement gags to please those with an affinity for the genre. Unfortunately, that ain’t me, so those stabs at “humor” fail to provoke a positive response from me.

None of the rest of the film ever ignites either. We find lots of “mistaken impression” bits – ala Three’s Company - but none of these seem amusing. The various characters come across as bland at best. Lee can be so good in supporting roles that it really does disappoint to see him in such a neutered part. He plays it safe as Paul and never makes the role stand out in any way. Blair also comes across as flat and unremarkable. Stiles brings a decent sense of charm to Becky, but she can’t elevate the material on her own.

Little more than a tired exercise in the inevitable, A Guy Thing doesn’t offer a screamingly bad experience. No, this is one of those movies that plods along and never goes anywhere. Slow-paced and tedious, it doesn’t do much to stand out, which is why it remains a middle of the road bad movie. Some flicks are remarkably, glaringly, rant-on-a-street-corner terrible, but Thing is just boring and pointless. It fails to inspire the passion to denounce it to a greater degree.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+ / Audio B- / Bonus B+

A Guy Thing appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided DVD-14; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. While it remained consistently watchable, the movie seemed surprisingly flawed for such a new flick.

Sharpness usually appeared fine. A little softness crept in at times, but not with any great frequency. The movie generally looked accurate and detailed. Jagged edges and edge enhancement weren’t a problem, but some light shimmer interfered at times. In regard to source defects, a few specks and marks showed up periodically, and the image seemed noisier and grainier than I expected. Those elements caused the most distractions.

Colors mostly worked well. Occasionally the hues looked a little heavy, especially during interior shots. Skin tones also sometimes came across as a bit ruddy. Otherwise the hues were nicely vivid and bold. Black levels appeared acceptably dense and tight, but shadow detail offered another weakness. Low-light sequences were somewhat muddy and thick on occasion. In general, the movie displayed a slightly murky appearance, and it earned only a lackluster “C+” for visuals.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of A Guy Thing suffered from no overt flaws, but it displayed a distinct lack of ambition. The mix remained oriented toward the front the vast majority of the time. In that domain, good musical delineation appeared, and the soundfield showed pretty nice movement and activity when appropriate. The rears mostly contributed general ambience. A little split-surround material cropped up, but the back speakers generally stuck with light reinforcement of the forward channels.

Audio quality appeared positive overall. Speech sounded a little stiff at times, but dialogue mostly came across as fairly natural and distinct. I noticed no concerns with intelligibility or edginess. Music demonstrated nice dynamics and sounded consistently bright and vivid. Effects played a limited role in the production, but they worked well also. They were clean and accurate as a whole. Bass response popped up most favorably in regard to the music, and low-end seemed tight and warm in general. The audio for A Guy Thing dropped to a “B-“ just because it displayed such a bland soundfield, but the sound seemed fine for this sort of movie.

Though the film didn’t do much at the box office, the DVD of A Guy Thing comes packed with extras. On both sides of the disc, we start with an audio commentary from director Chris Koch plus actors Jason Lee, Selma Blair, Julia Stiles and Thomas Lennon. All five sat together for this running, screen-specific piece. I don’t know if I’d call the commentary the worst I’ve ever heard, but it’s in the running for that dubious honor.

In the same spirit as the atrocious actors’ commentary from American Pie 2, this one offers precious little information. Instead, it substitutes obnoxious behavior. Blair fills the Mena Suvari role as the village idiot. I’ve always liked Blair as an actress, but I lost gobs of respect for her after I heard her chat here. She comes across as ridiculously moronic and annoying, and the others don’t fare much better. People belch in unison, make lame sex-related gags, and talk over each other constantly. Do we learn anything about the film? Occasionally we get a morsel about a location, but mostly this seems like little more than a conglomeration of extremely random thoughts. This isn’t a commentary – it’s a train wreck.

The movie also can be viewed with a fun facts trivia track. This uses the old “Pop-Up Video” style as it presents tidbits related to the movie. Sometimes these reflect parts of the film itself such as behind the scenes information or biographical notes about the participants, but much of the time we learn about issues connected to the flick. For example, we get facts about Seattle and notes about relationships. One problem with the piece stems from the colors used for the words; at times it becomes a little hard to make them out against the film’s background. Otherwise, this track seems reasonably informative and fun; it’s not one of the better subtitle commentaries I’ve seen, but it provides a fair amount of useful notes.

These two features appear on both sides of the DVD, but almost all of the rest show up only on Side One, we get Inside A Guy Thing. A general “making-of” program, this one lasts 18 minutes and 35 seconds as it presents movie clips, some shots from the set, and interviews. In the latter domain, we get remarks from director Chris Koch, actors Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, Thomas Lennon, producer David Ladd, writers Greg Glienna, Pete Schwaba, Matt Tarses and Bill Wrubel, and editor David Moritz. The piece follows the film from its inception through rewrites, casting, and the shoot. A moderate amount of concrete information appears, and this helps elaborate on the process behind the movie. We also get some wacky comments, but thankfully, these don’t dominate the program ala the awful commentary. “Inside” lacks great substance, but it provides a reasonably useful look at the creation of the flick.

For a general discussion of the subject, we move to Bachelor Party Confidential. It runs nine minutes, 12 seconds and features remarks from director Koch, producer Ladd, actors Lee, Lennon, Blair, James Brolin and Victor Varnado, editor Moritz, and writers Wrubel and Tarses. They reflect on the possible history of bachelor parties and their own experiences with them. It’s not a deep program but it’s entertaining, especially when Lennon reveals he once went to one that lasted four days in Amsterdam and the others react to this announcement.

To get a closer look at one element of the movie, we check out Groovy Gravy: Making the Scene in A Guy Thing. The five minute and 24 second featurette examines the creation of the segment in which some folks get stoned on spiked gravy. We hear from director Koch, writers Tarses and Wrubel, producer Ladd, and actors Stiles, Brolin and Lee. Some decent footage from the set makes this moderately interesting, and we get a little information about improvs, but mostly this feels self-congratulatory and not very useful.

The next portion of the DVD covers seven deleted scenes. After an 18-second intro from director Koch, we can check out these segments individually or together via the “Play All” option; if you go that way, they last 16 minutes and 42 seconds. Koch introduces all the clips themselves and tells us why he cut them. (This seems odd since his first intro challenges us to figure out why they dropped them; we don’t get the chance, since he tells us before we watch them.) Nothing here appears very interesting, so don’t expect any “lost gold”, and most of the clips appear awfully tedious; a few just go on forever.

After this we discover three alternate endings. Also introduced by Koch, these run a total of eight minutes, 11 seconds. The Space Needle one isn’t bad, but none of these seem superior to the ending used for the final film.

Another Koch introduction starts out the gag reel. The piece offers 11 minutes and 45 seconds of the usual goofs, bloopers and nuttiness. If you dig that stuff, knock yourself out. It’s not my bag, and the extended running time doesn’t help this assortment; almost 12 minutes of flubs is a lot to take.

Up next we locate an interactive quiz. “Are We Made For Each Other?” starts with an introduction from cast and crew before we take the test itself. The actors and others tell us the questions as well and give us feedback based on our answers. The quiz is surprisingly real; though you probably won’t want to use it to determine the status of actual relationships, the questions aren’t just jokey throwaways. The feedback from the filmmakers makes this a unique piece as well, and it encourages repeated plays to see their different reactions to your responses. It’s a cool and innovative little addition.

For something more typical of DVDs, we get a Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery. This splits into four areas: “A Peek On the Set” (18 shots), “The Stars” (14 stills), “The Many Jobs of Becky” (four images), and “Lights, Camera, Action!” (17 shots). Nothing very interesting pops up here, unfortunately. In addition, it took much longer than usual for me to move from still to still. I don’t know if this is a DVD flaw or it’s related to my player, but I’ve watched lots of discs on this machine and never proceeded through frames quite this slowly.

Lastly, we find the film’s theatrical trailer - which also pops up on Side Two - plus additional ads in the Other Great MGM Releases section. The latter includes a general “MGM Means Great Movies” promo plus clips for Legally Blonde, Heartbreakers, When Harry Met Sally, and The Princess Bride.

By the way, the initial run of A Guy Thing DVDs includes a free ticket to see Legally Blonde 2 theatrically. I don’t factor this into my extras grade since it won’t do anyone any good after summer 2003, but it’s a nice bonus while it lasts.

Too bad A Guy Thing is such a lame film. It offers nothing more than another Farrelly brothers wannabe, with little humor or spark on display. The DVD presents mediocre picture and sound but includes a surprisingly varied collection of supplements; once you get past the obnoxious audio commentary, the disc presents some nice pieces. The latter may please fans of the flick, but I can’t recommend this clunker to anyone who doesn’t already feel passion for it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.923 Stars Number of Votes: 13
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