Monday, September 29, 2008

Cook at his best in My Best Friends Girl

Lionsgate Films' My Best Friend's Girl

A master at seducing – and offending – women, Tank (Dane Cook) is a professional My Best Friend's Girl. When guys get dumped, they hire Tank to take their ex-girlfriends out on the worst date of their lives – an experience so horrible it sends them running gratefully back to their beaus. So when Tank’s best friend, Dustin (Jason Biggs), is dumped by his new girlfriend, Tank naturally offers to help out…and ends up meeting the challenge of a lifetime. Smart, beautiful and headstrong, Alexis (Kate Hudson) is the first girl who knows how to call his bluff, and Tank soon finds himself torn between his loyalty to Dustin and his love for his best friend’s girl.

Dane Cook plays Tank Turner, a guy who gets paid by disgruntled bachelors to act like such an obnoxious jerk that they look good in comparison. When love-struck Dustin (Jason Biggs) declares his true feelings for beautiful Alexis (Kate Hudson), she shoots him down and suggests they just be friends first. Unbeknownst to her, Dustin's best friend and roommate is Tank, who specializes in being the rebound date from hell, a scumbag who sends women fleeing back to the better man they recently dumped. But a funny thing happens: turns out Alexis really likes a-holes, and Tank, unable to rely on his usual tricks, finds himself falling for her.

At first, this seems like the perfect vehicle for Cook, whose humor is often abrasive and hasn't worked too well in his prior romantic leading roles, like Employee of the Month. Finally able to play an unbridled ass, he does so with gusto in the movie's early moments, which revel in the cynicism of the degree to which women really do get off on bad boys. Sadly, the latter half of the film requires Tank to get sincere, and Cook's just not too good at that, especially since the story up until that point has been trying to get us to sympathize with Dustin, who then suddenly falls by the wayside.

In trying to play to both Cook's raunch-loving fanbase and to hopeless romantics, director Howard Deutch has made an awkward half-breed that's likely to alienate both camps. Chances are you'll love half the movie, and despise the rest.It’s not a huge compliment to call this Cook’s best film—though it is—but Screenwriter Jordan Cahan’s curious and increasingly sincere slant on modern romance outshines its efforts to please his MySpace fan base with gross-out gags. (Some of which are damned funny, like a wedding scene where he drops his pants before the mother of the bride and announces, “C’mon, it’s not going to suck itself.”) Cook’s crisis is that after years of being the lowest common denominator, he’s less than Hudson deserves. This one will appeal to one fan base more than another, but I have to say that I found this pretty funny. A strong 4 on my "Go See" scale.

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