What sad and lifeless thing is YOU ME AND DUPREE. Not even Owen Wilson’s potent slacker charm can save it from a fatal lack of any sort of momentum, much less energy, leaving it with the sort of stasis that sucks all the fun right out of the proceedings.
He’s the eponymous Dupree, a sweet and gentle soul with no ambition, no sense of responsibility, and, as a result of spending a week in Hawaii without requesting time off from his employer, no job and no place to live. When his best pal, Carl (Matt Dillon), whose wedding was the reason for the Hawaiian trip, discovers Dupree living in the back room of their local bar, he does the noble thing and invites him to stay with him and new wife, Molly (Kate Hudson), in their picture perfect cottage. Of course, he doesn’t ask Molly first, he’s only just back from the honeymoon and he hasn’t quite got the hang of married life. Molly isn’t hip to the arrangement, but profuse assurances from both guys that this is short-term are forthcoming. And wrong. Dupree is the type that doesn’t mean to cause trouble, but before you can say “overstayed welcome”, there’s a naked woman in the living room with butter all over her and the inevitable fire that occurs in films like this.
Things are no better at work for Carl, where his real-estate tycoon boss (Michael Douglas) is also his father-in-law. Sure, Carl gets to head up a big new development project, but he’s also getting suggestions about dropping his last name in favor of Molly’s and being handed pamphlets on the virtues of vasectomies.
Alas, a weak script, unfocused characters, and generally lackluster performances make this sound much better than it plays. Wilson is terrific as the clueless center of chaos with an enviable sense of conviction. Plus, no one, nowhere can say the word “ditty” in a more entertaining fashion. Dillon has his moments as he tries to do the decent thing at home and at the office without being sidetracked by the blissful eternal boyhood that Dupree represents. For the most part, though, he’s as much of a waxwork as Douglas, who is going through his paces while resorting half-heartedly to his usual bag of acting tricks, such as tensing his lips and jutting his chin for emphasis, be it for menacing or comedic effect. It fails to attain the heights of camp and tumbles into a tedious banality. Hudson’s character is there strictly to serve as a source of conflict of one kind or another among the three male characters, and so there is no attempt made to give her motivation or even much in the way of a personality beyond noting that she has very attractive toes.
YOU ME AND DUPREE stretches its 15 or so good minutes into 108 minutes of lackluster screen time. Whatever Wilson goodness there was in there gets lost in the detritus.