I threw You, Me and Dupree into the DVD player expecting The Wedding Crashers. You know, a lot of hijinks, slapstick humor and sex jokes.
I didn't have high expectations, actually. Owen Wilson is funny most times, but he typically plays the same guy in every flick. Matt Dillon is a terrific dramatic actor, but I'm always surprised when I like him in a comedy. (Although I shouldn't be. He was kick-ass funny in There's Something About Mary.) And Kate Hudson is still just Goldie's daughter to me. She's adorable, but I'm waiting for that signature role to be delivered.
I was not expecting Dupree to be an existential examination of the maturation process of the American male.
And it was just that.
Wilson plays Dupree, a free-loading free spirit in his mid-thirties who refuses to conform, waiting instead for that moment of inspiration to arrive that will lead him down his life's path. His best friend Carl, played by Dillon, is a buttoned-down architect who got into the business to be creative, but is realizing his business is more about the cash than the artistic merit. Hudson plays Carl's wife, Molly, who fell in love with her husband because of his "Carl-ness," but is growing apart from him as he evolves a more distant, business-focused personality.
The plot moves quickly to get Dupree into the house, where his presence at first is terribly destructive and more than annoying. As Carl evolves to meet the demands of his job, however, Molly is drawn closer to the in-the-moment Dupree, who writes poetry and pines over his long-lost love. She digs his sensitivity, and notices Carl is losing his.
Dupree and Carl are the same person, really, representing two halves of the American male. Dupree represents us as we grow into adulthood, prior to taking on the responsibilities of a family, a job that can suck the life out of a guy and the day-to-day responsibilities of being a husband and a father. Carl represents the stereotypical adult male personality, the one that gave up comic books and skateboarding to assume adult responsibility. Neither Dupree nor Carl have the balance needed to maintain an emotionally healthy lifestyle.
The film, of course, sets in motion the events to change that, so that both Dupree and Carl realize that it doesn't have to be all-or-nothing in life: one can have fun and live in the moment while making a living and caring for a family.
It simply takes balance.
You, Me and Dupree isn't that funny, really, although it was funny enough to keep me interested. The film was relevant, though, to a guy who loves reading some comic books and blogging about movies in between professional meetings and time with the family. Because I identified with it, I liked the movie.