The New Guy (2002) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, language, crude humor and mild drug references
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Eddie Griffin, Ross Patterson, Zooey Deschanel, Jerod Mixon, Parry Shen, Sunny Mabrey
Director: Ed Decter
Screenplay: David Kendall
Review published January 24, 2003
Ed Decter's first big break in the movie biz came as the co-writer for the original script of the Farrelly brothers film There's Something About Mary, and it seems like he's borrowed a page from them himself. The New Guy is little more than an amalgam of the new "dumb movie" genre, complete with a nonstop soundtrack, sight gags, toilet humor, sexual innuendo, and gratuitous cameo appearances by pop culture icons of the past and present. What it mostly lacks is inspiration and laughs, two things that the Farrellys, for all their stupidity, delivered consistently enough to gain a loyal following. Sorry, Ed. It takes more than dumb ideas, a dumb story, and dumb characters to make a good dumb comedy.
DJ Qualls (Road Trip, Comic Book Villains) is the main star, playing Dizzy Harrison, a nerdy target for every bully in his school. Dizzy is sick of it all, aspiring to be the badass everyone loves and fears, so on some advice from a local convict, he gets himself suspended and thrown in jail, where he learns how to survive, talking the talk and walking the walk of the toughest of the tough. He re-emerges in another school as Gil Harris, immediately making a name for himself for taking out the school's #1 badass, taking his girl, as well as his rep. Trouble is, he may also be turning into the type of guy he hated when he wasn't so popular.
Outside of some good funky music, a high level of energy, and a couple of decent chuckles, there's nothing to recommend here. The screenplay by longtime sitcom writer David Kendall ("Kelly Kelly", "Growing Pains") sure feels like a 22 minute TV episode stretched out to 90 with crude humor and some silly dance numbers to fill up the remaining time. It plays like a mix of Revenge of the Nerds and an Adam Sandler film, only without the graces of a truly original comic performance to save it.
If you find that you watch every dumb comedy that comes out of the Hollywood poop chute, no matter how low it's willing to stoop for easy laughs, you'll probably be the only kind of person that enjoys The New Guy. Everyone else is strongly advised to steer clear. Despite the title, there's little new in yet another teen movie teeming with formula antics and a focus so lacking, no amount of cameo appearances can disguise the fact that the creators are bored with their own plot.
©2003 Vince Leo