By Clint Morris
When I was about 18 years old, I enrolled in a Hospitality Course at University. Sounded like a great idea at the time – if only because I’d get to spend each day tapping kegs at a bar; how cool, right? Wrong. Within weeks I realized I’d signed up for something I was from suited to. Order drinks I could do – and well. Take drink orders? Not so much. And I believe it was around the moment when the lecturers had us â€˜balance eggs on plates’ – that’s how they teach you to balance food plates, several at a time, on your arm, without dropping them- which led to me conveniently smashing a couple of the caged offspring all over the floor, that I decided to surrender. The flag came up. The plate was put down. I mercifully retired from the hospitality game.
It’s funny how something that sounded so much fun, and looked – from the outset – like a real learning experience, could turn into both a chore and a bore. It’s a learning experience, I guess.
“My Best Friend’s Girl” is Kate Hudson’s Hospitality course. She doesn’t have to balance any eggs, nor does she serve any drinks, but she does have to share the screen with a still-relatively-unproven comedian (granted, I really like his stuff – so far) and, er, Biggsy (Jason Biggs of “American Pie” fame – is fame even the appropriate word here? What about infamy? Does that work better?) for an hour-and-a-half – something she shouldn’t be doing. What was she thinking? The girl is as out of place here as a Hooker at a Beverly Hills Hotel. (Yes, I know, her last film “Fool’s Gold” wasn’t exactly a classy pic – but it starred Matthew McConaughey, Donald Sutherland and Ray Winstone… three huge stars. Even Paul Newman would come out of retirement to work with such an ensemble – OK, maybe not Newman… but Rick Moranis, definitely!).
I’m not saying I’m a huge fan of Hudson’s I’m just saying she doesn’t belong in this one. She’s a different type of actress – she’s almost an (I transform into Cate Blanchett every time I say this word) ‘Artiste’. This is a movie for those-that-almost-expect-it-to-straight-to-video-and-wont-care-too-much-otherwise…. say, the likes of Shannon Elizabeth?
Not that it’s a bad film, it isn’t, in fact I liked quite hard in several scenes, but it’s definitely not a film that screams â€˜A-list actress required for third-fiddle girlfriend role!’. Wasn’t Emmanuelle Chiriqi available? Couldn’t the producers get financing with Jessica Biel in the role? Was Kristen Bell busy with her TV commitments?
Bottom line : Hudson is a stand-out in “My Best Friend’s Girl” – just not in a good way. She stands-out because she’s swimming at a back-beach her agent should’ve steered her away from – she’s going to get eaten alive here. I think Dane Cook is great – I do, I really do; for once I’m not being sarcastic – and even Jason Biggs is good at â€˜what he does’ (Google him, I’m sure you’ll find the answer to what he actually does), but Hudson isn’t the third-wheel their comedy cart needs. She, in fact, takes you out of the picture. That role needed to be ‘cast down’ not up.
Cook plays the same old character he does in every other film he’s done – OK, perhaps not “Mr. Brooks” – “an asshole” gigolo. And that works for him. He’s a fuckin laugh. I challenge anyone to a game of beer pong that says the man isn’t funny. In this, he’s the guy that men hire to date their ex-girlfriends. The plan is, he takes the ex on a nightmarish date to prove to her that their ex-lover wasn’t that bad at all. Before the night’s over, she’ll be calling her old flame begging for him to come back.
Kate Hudson is the well-to-do but sex-starved urchin who dumps poor Jason Biggs – who has just confessed his love for her after only five weeks of dating.
Biggsy’s character just happens to be Cook’s best friend -and, of course, he knows exactly what his slutty smart-arsey best bud does… and decides to take advantage of it. Thing is, when Cook meets Hudson he falls head…. You can guess the rest (Oh, they play The Cars song ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ about twenty times throughout the movie – just in case you forget what the film’s titled. But why not! You pay shitloads for a song, you might as well use it!).
Despite the rather ho-hum script, there are some genuinely funny moments in the film – largely thanks to Cook, who has the ‘funny prick’ thing down – and a really wonderful supporting cast (Alec Baldwin’s a welcome addition as Cook’s equally promiscuous father). Howard Deutch’s film – remember him? He did “Pretty in Pink” way back when – also has quite the sweet side, in much the same way Biggsy’s “American Pie” movies did. Speaking of, Biggsy is quite good in this too – his â€˜eyebrows’ scene is a bit of a pisser.
But Hudson, she’s the weak link here. I just don’t buy it for a second that she’d want to cozy up to a sleaze like Cook – heck, I don’t even buy it for a second that she’s starved of sex. Think Keanu Reeves in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula” – and you get the picture. A no-fit. I know, maybe they needed a name actress to get financing for this thing… still.
It just didn’t work for me, or the film, that bit of casting. If you’re a fan of Cook though – and I know some of you out there are; my wife included – you’ll get a couple of good laughs out of the film. I think this guy is on his way to becoming one heck of a movie star. Think of this as his “Dr. Detroit” with the next one hopefully a “Spies Like Us”.
Oh, and watch out for those Hospitality Courses – they’ll suck you in every time.