Want to spend a seemingly endless 100 minutes watching a dullard trying to decide between a douchebag and a eunuch? Then run, don’t walk, to “My Best Friend’s Girl,” a supremely irritating movie about idiots and their dull quest for unconvincing love.
You’ve seen this one dozens of times and probably never liked it, and you’re not going to like it here either. It goes a little something like this: Doormat Dustin (Jason Biggs) loves co-worker Alexis (Kate Hudson), but blows his chance with her by springing “I love you” on her too early and generally being too much of a nice nebbish. Dustin’s best friend is Tank (Dane Cook), a professional cad who men hire to take their ex-girlfriends on dates so horrible that the exes come running back into their old boyfriends’ arms.
“My Best Friend’s Girl” actually qualifies as a spoiler-proof movie, because any four-year-old who looks at the poster can tell you exactly what unfolds: Alexis is too smart for Tank’s usual routine. Tank tries not to fall in love with her because of his friendship with Dustin, but ultimately can’t resist her charms. Dustin feels betrayed. Tank tries to be a better man. The nachos at the concession stand offer more surprises than this script.
To pin all of this film’s problems on Jordan Cahan’s writing, however, would be to let too many guilty parties off the hook. Let’s not neglect the horribly muddy cinematography by the usually-talented Jack Green (who has shot many of Clint Eastwood’s recent films), which makes the city of Boston look more like Tikrit the day before the “Mission Accomplished” banner went up. Green doesn’t do the actors any favors either; Cook appears to have offended the makeup artist, since his face has never looked craggier, while Hudson comes off as pinched and frumpy.
And while we’re on the subject of the actors … look, it’s a Dane Cook/Kate Hudson vehicle. What more can be said on the subject of these two charisma-deprived sheets of cardboard who somehow keep getting movie gigs? Biggs’ latter-day Ralph Bellamy routine is starting to get a little tired, and poor Alec Baldwin couldn’t be phoning it in more if he were appearing in a remake of “Sorry, Wrong Number.”
Even the dull-heroine’s-kooky-pal role gives the entertaining Lizzy Caplan (“Mean Girls”) nothing to do. And when Andrew Caldwell, the unfunny Jack Black wannabe from “College,” turns up in a brief cameo, it’s like watching the gods of crap cinema bestow their curse-blessings on the production.
There are exactly two funny ideas in the film, sort of. One is the first date between Tank and Alexis, where he tries to shock her, but she one-ups him due to the fact that she’s gotten drunk beforehand. (Show of hands: How many intelligent big-city ladies out there would get crazy schnockered before going out on a first date with someone you barely know? I thought so.)
The other is when a smitten Tank describes to his rakish dad (Baldwin) how he and Alexis “made love.” “Made love?” sneers Baldwin. “What are you, Nora Ephron?” That joke, unfortunately, is undercut by the fact that “My Best Friend’s Girl” is so awful that I actually found myself longing for one of Ephron’s bleating sapfests. (OK, except for “Mixed Nuts”; let’s not exaggerate here.)
And when a movie makes you nostalgic for “You’ve Got Mail,” you’ve got trouble.