Urban Cinefile
"All the world is a stage . . . coach!"  -John Wayne
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 18, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



When groom-to-be Paul (Jason Lee) wakes up the morning after his bucks party with a girl called Becky (Julia Stiles) in his bed, he is appalled. Especially as he was determined not to do anything he couldnít tell his fiancťe Karen (Selma Blair). Matters get worse when Karen arrives, and one small lie soon turns into a string of lies. Thereís a lot at stake because as well as his marriage, his job is also on the line: he works with Karenís father Ken (James Brolin) in the family firm. His best friend Jim (Shawn Hatosy) does everything he can to support him, but matters get worse when Beckyís ex boyfriend Ray (Lochlyn Munro) Ė a psychotically jealous crooked cop Ė appears on the scene.

Review by Louise Keller:
What could have been just another formulaic and predictable romantic comedy is elevated to an entertaining comedy of errors, mostly thanks to the stylish Julia Stiles, whose charisma and presence allows us to forgive many of the overcooked moments. Comedy always works best when played straight and not for laughs. The three main characters are played straight, but so many of the sideline characters are over-done and ham it up, which takes the punch out of the punch, so to speak. Thereís Beckyís ex - the manic corrupt over-the-top cop, Paulís caricature of a loose-tongued mother and step-dad, his soppy love-struck brother, the prudish, nosey minister neighbour and Karenís hoity-toity mother.†

These are all basically sit-com characters, and we donít connect with any of them. Some of the would-be funny scenes (like the one in the chemist shop when Paul tries to curb an embarrassing moment when the pharmacy assistant is yelling well-intentioned remedy for crabs, he introduces him to his future mother-in-law as an apprentice chef) just go one step too far, so the gag falls flat.†

Thatís not to say a bit of colour doesnít fare well with characters: I like the over-the-top punk with red dreadlocks and a gold front tooth and Karenís alcoholic elderly aunt who is intent to get her wine glass filled one way or another. Although thereís not much thatís original, the script plays with a few funny ideas, and thereís a pleasing soundtrack with loads of amenable tunes.†

But itís Stiles who gives a winning performance and manages to make A Guy Thing feel as though it is a better film than it actually is. Jason Lee has dropped down a peg since his good work in Chasing Amy, but works well as the stressed out guy who has always played it safe, and Selma Blair is the perfect foil as his would-be bride. I rather enjoyed James Brolinís prospective father-in-law, who balances his performance with gravitas and a wink. The fantasy scenes are fun Ė these are the moments when we see what might have been Ė in Paulís imagination. As for the title Ė well, itís about how guys protect other guys because theyíre a guy. Sort of like the First Wives Club, except itís just for guys.

Thereís a bunch of ĎA Guy Thingí features on the DVD, including audio commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, alternate endings, bloopers, gallery, trailer and an interactive quiz ĎAre We Made for Each Otherí.

Published January 8, 2004

Email this article


CAST: Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, James Brolin, Shawn Hatosy, Lochlyn Munro

DIRECTOR: Chris Koch

SCRIPT: Greg Glienna, Pete Schwaba, Matt Tarses, Bill Wrubel (story by Greg Glienna)

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16 : 9 widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries with cast and crew, Inside a Guy Thing featurette; bachelor party confidential featurette; Groovy Gravy; Making the scene in A Guy Thing; Deleted Scenes; alternte Endings; Fun fact Track; Bloopers; Are We made for Each other interactive quiz; behind the scenes photo gallery; theatrical trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 17, 2003

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018