A Guy Thing
MGM // PG-13 // $26.98 // May 27, 2003
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 16, 2003
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The Movie:

A long-delayed comedy, "A Guy Thing" is one of those films that's really neither good nor bad. Perfectly ordinary, lucky to have its talented stars and rather sweet at times, the picture entertains but never really engages or rises completely above blandness. The film stars Jason Lee ("Mallrats", "Chasing Amy") as Paul, a very average, very mild-mannered guy who's getting married to Karen (Selma Blair), a rich young woman who seems to be planning most aspects of Paul's life. This being a familiar romantic comedy, Paul is - of course - working for Karen's father.

The morning after his bachelor party, Paul wakes up with Becky (Julia Stiles), one of the Tiki girls that danced (badly) for him the night before. A vibrant free spirit, Becky is obviously the right one for Paul, but it'll take about another 90 minutes for him to realize that. Until then, the audience is confronted with sex jokes, some slapstick and the occasional dance scene. Oh, and there's one other problem for Paul - Becky just happens to be Karen's cousin, and keeps turning up in his life as she moves from job-to-job.

If anything, "A Guy Thing" works because of its three leads. The script (by no less than four credited screenwriters) really doesn't deliver anything new, bringing together romantic comedy staples and gross-out gags that are rather generic. However, the three leads at least give the material a good try - Lee and Stiles have similar timing and are well-matched; although she doesn't seem like the perfect choice as a "free spirit", she plays the role smartly. Lee's timing is often priceless and Selma Blair is slyly funny, too. Larry Miller is terrific in a great role as Paul's minister neighbor who finds out about Paul and Becky (after asking if anyone has any objection to Paul and Karen's marriage and meeting with silence, he says "We're just going to give you another few minutes to think about that ...."). Director Chris Koch puts it all together with little energy and less visual style.

Overall, "A Guy Thing" just ended up being mediocre. I liked these characters, I liked the performances and the film really does benefit from the presence of three very likable actors. However, it simply never comes up with anything original for them to do. A few laughs, a few moments, but nothing too memorable.


VIDEO: "A Guy Thing" is presented by MGM/UA in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame. The anamorphic widescreen presentation, unfortunately, is merely average. I didn't see the film in theaters, but I'd be surprised if the picture was really this dark by intent. Sharpness and detail are mediocre, as the picture is either a tad soft in appearance or noticably dark.

Other flaws occur, although the general lack of brightness was the flaw that fascinated me the most. One can also spot instances of edge enhancement, occasional hints of pixelation and a mark or two (or three) on the print used. Colors can sem rather pleasant at times, but a little murky at others. Overall, just a very average transfer of a surprisingly low-key looking romantic comedy.

SOUND: "A Guy Thing" doesn't fare much better in the audio catagory. The film's soundtrack is entirely front-heavy, aside from some very minimal reinforcement of the music by the surrounds in a few scenes. Audio quality is perfectly fine - the music has a nice kick from the front speakers, while dialogue remains crystal clear.


Commentary: This is a commentary from actor Jason Lee, actresses Julia Stiles and Selma Blair, director Chris Koch and actor Thomas Lennon. Certainly, with all of these participants, the track falls into a party atmosphere rather than offering much information about the movie. None of them seem to take the movie very seriously, genuinely joking about and goofing on their own picture, with Blair coming up with most of the best lines. The commentary is funnier and more entertaining than the movie.

Alternate Endings: No less than three alternate endings are included. All three really don't work as well as the one in the final film.

Gag Reel: A collection of bloopers and outtakes. Funny for a while, but starts to go on a little long at 11 minutes.

Featurettes: "Inside a Guy Thing", "Bachelor Party" and "Making a Scene" are offered. "Inside" is an amusing little overview of the production, as director Koch, the film's producer, writers and cast discuss their thoughts about the screenplay - of course, they thought it was terrific - and what happened during production. Although a lot of happy talk gets thrown about, there's some funny stories offered and a few decent tidbits. Part of the amusing aspect of the featurette is that the final movie is so what the participants say they didn't want it to be. "Bachelor Party" is rather predictable, and the final piece carries the viewer through some basic bits on putting together a scene.

Also: The film's trailer; trailers for "Legally Blonde", "Heartbreakers" and "When Harry Met Sally"; interactive quiz and a collection of rightly deleted scenes.

Final Thoughts: "A Guy Thing" was a decent enough time-waster, but the script could have been funnier and the actors deserved better. MGM's DVD offers very average audio/video, along with a few supplements. A rental for fans of the actors.

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