A Guy Thing Chris Koch
Published Dec 01, 2002Jason Lee is finally rewarded with a leading role after numerous supporting efforts, mainly in Kevin Smith films. The bad news is that Lee's first stab at being a leading male is also one of the poorest scripts he's accepted to take on. Characters such as Banky Edwards in Chasing Amy and Skip Skipperton in Mumford were more compelling to watch than the one-dimensional traits of Paul Morse in the barely-average A Guy Thing.
With a few days left of being a single male, Paul Morse is contemplating his life at his own bachelor party. He forfeits his role as "groom" to his best friend for the night and bows out of the festivities, allowing himself to get acquainted with one of the party's hired Tiki girls, Becky (Julia Stiles). There's an instant spark between the two and after a whirlwind of drinks the two both wake up in Paul's apartment, sharing the same bed. With Paul's fiancé Karen (Selma Blair) on her way over there's no time for explanations and the movie's plot kicks into high gear with lie after lie, awkward situations and frequent mishaps, all of which could have been avoided with nothing more than a little common sense on Paul's part.
What starts out as something as simple as waking up next to someone he didn't even have sex with spirals into over-the-top comedy moments. Paul soon realises that Becky is in fact Karen's cousin and attends the same family functions, ones where Paul would sooner lock himself in the bathroom and try to make an escape through the second story window to avoid an uncomfortable introduction. To add more stress to the plot there's also the case of Becky's psychotic ex-boyfriend, who also happens to be a crooked cop and is out to get Paul after photos surface of him with Becky. Scene after scene we see Paul dig himself into a deeper hole while falling in love with Becky and spinning lies with Karen.
The problem with A Guy Thing is that it's a story that never should have started. Had Paul dealt with his situations like a normal human being, there wouldn't be these outlandish scenarios that require dumbed-down humour and plenty of slapstick. Given that this isn't an intelligent film to begin with, the second problem is that there really isn't any time spent between Paul and Becky to make us believe that they're falling in love. That Paul would leave his long-term girlfriend and future wife to be with someone that he doesn't even know, and is just intrigued by her "outgoing lifestyle," seems absurd.
There are some exceptional actors in this film that have always played the supporting roles in other fantastic films. Selma Blair plays a larger role than Julia Stiles, yet she's deemed as the "other girl," even though she seems to have a better grasp on her life than the character of Becky, who lives for the moment and changes jobs daily. Jason Lee certainly has what it takes to take over the leading man position in films, but projects that are directed by the same man who agreed to take on Snowdogs are best avoided. This film was written by Greg Glienna, who also penned Meet The Parents, and you can tell because the two are very similar, in the sense that we find the male lead suddenly losing his ability to think rationally even for a minute. There's definitely some amusing moments in A Guy Thing but it lacks the intelligence and uniqueness of past Jason Lee films.