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Count yourself out of this dismal mix

The Big Movie: 'You, Me and Dupree' (PG-13)
by: Melissa Moseley, Kate Hudson puts her Golden Globe-winning acting chops to work by crinkling her nose, smiling a lot and walking around in her underwear.

The slow decline of Owen Wilson's career continues with this pedestrian sitcom-on-celluloid, in which he plays a lovable pest of a houseguest who disrupts the lives of his newlywed friends through a series of ostensibly zany shenanigans.

The couple in question are Carl (Matt Dillon) and Molly (Kate Hudson). They're presented as a young couple just starting out together, despite the fact that Dillon is 42 years old. Molly's dad is played by Michael Douglas, who's 62, which means he would have been about Dillon's age when Hudson was born.

These are the sorts of things that go through one's head when watching a movie that's sort of stupid and more than a little boring. You know, like 'You, Me and Dupree.'

Out of work and homeless, Dupree (Wilson) crashes on Molly and Carl's couch and behaves as if he's never lived in an actual house with people before. He eats 700 buffalo wings and then clogs up the toilet. He gets caught pleasuring himself to Carl's hidden porn collection. He has inappropriate sex with one of Molly's co-workers, which somehow leads to his setting the living room on fire.

In response, Hudson smiles a lot and crinkles her nose while Dillon shakes his fist in impotent rage. Carl's also under attack at work. His father-in-law is his boss, and Dad doesn't like Carl very much. Much of the last third of the film depends on Carl finally getting fed up as Dad undermines him in creepy, passive-aggressive ways while Molly … well, she doesn't do much, really, other than walk around in her underwear.

It's a film that never takes off. It coasts down the runway, fueled by modestly amusing situations that scream for a black-comedy treatment that never comes. The last third of the film drags at a glacial pace while directors Anthony and Joe Russo (yes, it took two people to direct this) keep trotting out shots of Wilson's naked backside as if it will just get funnier the more times you see it. It doesn't.

There are some small moments of real humor courtesy of third-banana Seth Rogen ('The 40-Year-Old Virgin') as a completely whipped married friend of Carl and Dupree, but they aren't enough to make up for a script that's lacking any character details that would make us care about anyone on the screen.

Why are Carl and Molly together at all, since they seem to have absolutely nothing in common? How come Carl never told Molly he had a box of porn? Why is Dupree such a screw-up? Why does Douglas' character hate his son-in-law so much?

By the movie's last act, when Carl suddenly gets it into his head that Dupree's hitting on his wife, it feels as if the story's being made up of spare parts from old episodes of 'The King of Queens.' There are certainly worse comedies than this one, but few that feel as calculated while still squandering a genuinely promising premise.

- Dawn Taylor

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