Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The New Guy

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Strong language
Nudity/Sex:Very explicit sexual humor
Alcohol/Drugs:Drug humor
Violence/Scariness:Comic peril
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2002

“The New Guy” is a waste of talent. This high school epic, supposedly about one boy’s path to true cool is so half-baked and uncool that it’s embarrassing. It is also another case of the MPAA giving a PG-13 rating to a comedy that has material that would get an R in a drama.

Chickenesque D.J. Qualls, this generation’s Don Knotts, plays Dizzy, a funk-loving dork stranded at the bottom of the school pecking order with his pals, played by Parry Shen, the magnificent Zooey Deschanel (“Big Trouble” and “Almost Famous”) and Jeord Mixon. After an opening-day incident where Dizzy is injured in an unlikely and spectacular and deeply personal way, he decides he must escape. Deciding to get expelled, his antics at first only merit a diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome and some stupefying medication. Now drug-addled as well, his behavior escalates until he gets thrown in jail. There his meets the mentor he’s been needing: Eddie Griffin, playing an inmate who’s cultivated a fierce facade to survive the comic rigors of movie-prison life.

Under his tutelage, Dizzy is transformed into the punky Gil. At a new school, on the other side of town, Gil uses his newfound abilities to spout decade-old pseudo-Ebonic aphorisms and publicly beat the local bully. His badboy status confirmed, he begins to restructure the social hierarchy of the new place. Eventually, he’s forced to confront the fact that Gil is just an invention, and also forced by the lame script to win the heart of the school bully’s sexy girlfriend, as portrayed by Eliza Dushku.

It is painful to see some of today’s most talented young actors wasted in this dreck. They’re given very little to work with in the script. The writer and director have sadly bought into the same limited mindset about popularity and conformity that they are purportedly skewering.

The most troubling aspect of “The New Guy” might be strained impressions D.J. Qualls calls upon in his quest for status. It’s intrinsically funny to watch the gawkiest white guy on the planet attempt to imitate macho black posturing (especially when the source of this posturing is the chihuahua-like Eddie Griffin). But so much of it goes on for so long that posturing begins to seem a little like caricature. And it’s precisely this behavior, the epitome of imitative uncool, which is supposed to secure “Gil’s” status.

Parents should know that this film contains a lot of sexual talk, a little sexual activity (offscreen), and a mutilating injury that is supposed to be funny. Dizzy/Gil overdoses on medication, crashes a motorcycle, and sets his father’s head on fire (by accident, for comic effect). The slapstick of the film is pretty violent, and there are frequent kicks to the groin. One character is described as a “slut” and likes to have sex in public. Another pages a friend on a store intercom, reporting a “pair of lost testicles.”

Families who see this movie should talk about who the arbiters of social status are in real high schools, and what qualities determine a person’s status. What are the advantages of popularity? What are the consequences (advantages?) of being unpopular? Is social status fixed, or changeable? Does any of this really matter after high school?

Families who enjoyed this film might want to catch D.J. Qualls’ breakout role in “Roadtrip”, or give Eddie Griffin some space for his comedy in “Double Take”, alongside the underutilized Orlando Jones.



Previous Posts

List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts
Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts.  (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes -- stick with the originals.) Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most s

posted 8:00:42am Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

List: Sam Rockwell
Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in "Laggies," playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances: Moon Rockwell takes on the biggest possible acting challenge -- he in alone on screen for the ent

posted 3:50:02pm Oct. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Lauren Bradshaw's Terrific New "Before They Were Famous" Column
My friend and fellow critic Lauren Bradshaw has a great new series on the very earliest appearances by some of Hollywood's biggest stars. You can see Emma Stone, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain in their very first roles, and give her suggestions for who she should report on next.

posted 8:00:27am Oct. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Big News From Marvel: Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Much, Much, MUCH More
Wow, Marvel really knows how to make an announcement. Get out your calendars: May 6, 2016: Captain America: Civil War Nov. 4, 2016: Doctor Strange May 5, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 July 28, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok Nov. 3, 2017: Black Panther May 4, 2018: Avengers: Infinity War – Part I Ju

posted 6:46:42pm Oct. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Nell Scovell Pays Tribute to the Under-Used Women Alumnae of SNL
The wonderful Nell Scovell, who helped Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg write Lean In and is now working on a screenplay based on the book, has an excellent essay in Time about the talented women who appeared on "Saturday Night Live" but never transitioned to the kind of high-profile careers that some of

posted 3:37:33pm Oct. 28, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.