DVD Review
A Guy Thing
A Guy Thing poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published June 24, 2003
US Release: January 17, 2003

Directed by: Chris Koch
Starring: Selma Blair , Jason Lee , Julia Stiles , James Brolin

PG-13
Running Time: 101 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $15,452,000
C-
98 of 132
Its sloppy writing diminishes all the possibilities
While A Guy Thing has friendly intentions, its sloppy writing diminishes all the possibilities at stake. As fundamental as the premise is, A Guy Thing could?ve been fairly amusing and funny given the right script; and yes, with possibly more of a harsh MPAA rating.

Watching the movie play out, it becomes abundantly clear how easy it can be to produce a teen comedic romance. Even if the writer inserts barely a trace of brainpower with predictable and clich? run of events, and no other reason to care for the personas on screen other than the who?s playing them (let alone barely any laughs to behold for 100 minutes), a movie like A Guy Thing can still be made.
Why? Because Hollywood sometimes doesn?t have high standards, and also budget, as these minimalist flicks can make easy bank if even a modest amount of moviegoers pay for a ticket. Unfortunately for this production, it still came $5 million short of its $20 million price tag, domestically speaking.

In the case of A Guy Thing, this comedy doesn?t live up to its genre; well, in a sense it does. It hands over what we expect in terms of romance (a formula we?ve seen endlessly), but without the humor tagging along for the ride. The laugh attempts are always visible, but they?re on the level of a dull television sitcom ? the only thing missing is the laugh track, and I?m sure when this film played in theaters that there wasn?t a whole lot of laughter to begin with.

Coming from Jason Lee, this effort is no real surprise, as he did in fact star in Stealing Harvard (C) alongside Tom Green. And as much as this might make me look bad, I least chuckled more at Harvard even if it still wasn?t very worthy. But I?ve seen Lee truly act in Cameron Crowe?s Vanilla Sky (A-), so there?s no fooling me anymore. Coming from Julia Stiles, though, who became a star with Save the Last a Dance (an actually good formula movie), this movie places her in sour territory; perhaps it was a paycheck that lured the desire; either way, it?s an embarrassment for the two talents.

Following a fun night at his bachelor?s party, Paul Coleman (Jason Lee) wakes up the next morning to a big shock ? lying right next to him is a young dancer (Becky ? Julia Stiles) who was at the bar, someone who happened to catch his eye the other night. Putting two and two together, we realize they must have slept together, and this doesn?t paint a good picture, as Paul is engaged to Karen, played by Selma Blair. Of course, through the obvious book of film rules, Paul soon learns that his fianc?e is coming over to his apartment as we speak; he better hide all evidence or his current life is in jeopardy.

But the embarrassments (for the characters) don?t end there, not to worry. Coincidentally, Becky is Karen?s cousin, and over time Paul and Becky establish a mismatch relationship that forces him to contemplate his current situation; is there a future with the duo in marriage or should his current wedding with Karen go on as scheduled? I?ve actually described this more intelligently than items are actually expressed in the film, which is actually a sad note to spread on.

A movie like A Guy Thing, I?m risking it enough to say, can be good if written right; you can say that about a lot of films that go wrong, but I think this story could?ve achieved some merits if it weren?t so friendly. With a PG-13-level script, the screenwriters can?t do a whole lot in terms of bringing in controversial material (in humor), and can?t necessarily stretch the limits of language. There actually is one use of a four-letter term, but it really is rather useless in terms of the balance of language throughout. Even with a tame screenplay, humor can result, and these four screenwriters often act as though they?re writing a PG movie ? it?s damaging enough that this is PG-13, but come on.

This film could have done variations on jokes/gags from classic college comedies as Animal House, but the problem lies in the fact that this is written for 13-year old girls who aren?t old enough to realize the classic formula in front of them. Some of them will, but some of them won?t care; but there will, thankfully, be those who walk out branding it as a waste of time; thank God there is at least some intelligent life on the planet ? there just isn?t enough of that.

A Guy Thing made me laugh twice, but for how many attempts it treks for, those few instances are really a very small fraction of the pie. The rest of the time, this film is buried in misunderstandings, characters running into each other coincidentally (resorting to embarrassing dialogue), and the constant challenge of avoiding another person in the room at all costs. Again, this could actually be entertaining, but the writers don?t allow that term to sink in. It?s all quite clich? and run of the mill in nature, but I?m fairly certain that material as that can function under bright minds penning the screenplay.

It?s just disappointing to see a movie that could?ve been riskier in attitude, and still deliver plenty of laughs and enjoyment, wasted with a product that even makes a $4 dollar rental feel sort of like being cheated. And when you consider that there were some, but not many, who actually paid $7+ dollars at the ticket window to see this comedy in theaters, you feel sorry for them, feeling their pain.

DVD Features:
- Deleted Scenes and Alternate Endings
- Bloopers
- Audio Commentary w/ Director and Cast
- "Inside 'A Guy Thing'" Featurette
- Bachelor Party Confidential
- "Groovy Gravy" Featurette
- Trivia Track
- "Are We Made for Each Other?" Interactive Quiz
- Photo Gallery
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Widescreen and Standard

Audio Features:
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- French
- Spanish
- French and English Language Subtitles
Lee's Grade: C-
Ranked #98 of 132 between Marci X (#97) and Poolhall Junkies (#99) for 2003 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 2728 graded movies
A0.4%
B30.4%
C61.5%
D7.7%
F0.0%
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'A Guy Thing' Articles
  • Gareth's review B-
    January 17, 2003    What makes this film enjoyable despite the lack of originality is the characters -- Gareth Von Kallenbach
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