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Humor isn’t necessarily ‘A Guy Thing’

SHARE Humor isn’t necessarily ‘A Guy Thing’

A GUY THING —* — Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, James Brolin, Shawn Hatosy, Lochlyn Munro, Diana Scarwid, Julie Hagerty; rated PG-13 (vulgarity, slapstick violence, profanity, drugs); see "Playing at local movie theaters" for complete listing of local theaters.

For a film that was delayed several times, "A Guy Thing" is funnier than it has any right to be.

That shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation, however; this hackneyed romantic comedy isn't very funny. In fact, there's more wit, style and enjoyment in the mildly amusing opening sequence than the rest of the movie.

Still, given the film's troubled production and release schedule, it could be much worse.

You have to wonder how a cast like this wound up in such a mess . . . aside from the obvious, collecting a paycheck.

The film's title evidently applies to the increasingly intricate and outrageous web of lies that Paul (Jason Lee) finds himself spinning to keep himself out of trouble.

Though Paul's wedding day is fast approaching, he wakes up one morning to find a strange woman in his bed. Worse, she turns out to be Becky (Julia Stiles) — the cousin of Paul's fiancee Karen (Selma Blair).

While he tries to figure that one out, Paul also has to contend with his suspicious father-in-law-to-be (James Brolin) and Becky's insanely jealous ex-boyfriend (Lochlyn Munro). Then there's the fact that, with Becky, he's having more fun than he's ever had with Karen.

This material couldn't be more painfully obvious if the filmmakers had neon signs at the top of the screen. Not that the script-by-committee is the only culprit. Director Chris Koch is no help; his pacing is slower than cold tar.

The cast doesn't look all that happy to be here, either — especially Lee, who stoops to new lows in a series of embarrassing "humorous" bits. Yes, they're even more embarrassing than his starring turn opposite Tom Green in last year's "Stealing Harvard."

Truth be told, the film's only real highlight may be the soundtrack, which contains songs from the eels, Wilco and the Buddy Scott Trio, which can be seen and heard putting a unique spin on "Born Free."

"A Guy Thing" is rated PG-13 for nonstop crude humor (toilet and sexual gags), slapstick violence (beatings), occasional use of strong profanity (including one usage of the so-called "R-rated" curse word) and some drug content (marijuana, ingested). Running time: 101 minutes.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com