I’ll admit it with some embarrassment – this movie made me laugh. Yes, it is a very dumb comedy, but as dumb comedies go, it is one of the best because it stars four of the most able comic actors around. The situations are mildly funny (though, as I said, very dumb), but Jack Black, Steve Zahn, Jason Biggs, and Amanda Peet are so much fun to watch that I dare you not to smile.
Black, Zahn, and Biggs play three lifelong buddies who think that life can’t get much better than watching football with a beer bong or performing “Holly Holy” in their Neil Diamond tribute band, “Diamonds in the Rough.” Darren (Biggs) gets involved with a nightmare girlfriend (Peet as Judith -– not “Judy” -– a psychologist), who refers to Darren as her puppet and herself as his puppet master. Darren’s two pals decide the only way to save him is to kidnap Judith so that he can spend some time with the only girl he loved in high school. She happens to be a former trapeze artist about to become a nun.
If this sounds like an Adam Sandler movie, that might be because Sandler produced it, and because it was directed by Dennis Dugan, the director of “Big Daddy” and “Happy Gilmore.” It has the loose construction (and the juvenile attitude toward women) of a Sandler movie. Scenes were apparently created based on, “You know what might be funny?” instead of “You know what this character would do next?” That approach can be disarmingly unpretentious, but it can also be repetitive. How many dead fiancé stories do we really need? And there are a number of similarities to the rest of the Sandler oeuvre, including the contrast between the sweet, forgiving, blonde angel dream girl and the greedy and controlling girlfriend who nevertheless inspires love and loyalty from the hapless hero. There are other similarities, too — to the extent that this is a reworking of “The Wedding Singer,” the part of Billy Idol is played by…Neil Diamond.
In the end, though, it works, thanks to the inescapable pleasure of watching Zahn, Black, and Biggs. Peet is less well served by the script, which has her as some sort of pre-pubescent fantasy of a man-eating girlfriend, but she still glows – and looks great in some very revealing outfits.
Parents should know that this is a PG-13 movie that could easily have qualified for an R, and they should be very cautious about evaluating its appropriateness for teenagers. The coming attraction and commercial use computer graphics to make the movie seem less raunchy – Zahn’s nude yoga pose (with sexual overtones) is disguised with computer-added underpants and Peet’s revealing blouse is made much less revealing. The movie has very strong language and jokes about oral sex, masturbation, and homosexuality. A “butt cheek implant” operation is shown in brief but gross detail. Drinking too much beer is portrayed as a humorous bonding experience. The movie includes comic kidnapping and comic fatalities. A woman uses sex to control a man.
Familes who see this movie should talk about what happens to friends when they start to become involved in romance and why a man like Darren would put up with a woman who treats him with no respect or affection. What would be the right thing to do if you believe your friend is in a bad relationship?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “The Wedding Singer” and “Big Daddy.”