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Notes from the back row

Three's a crowd, Dupree

Couch surfers. If you’ve lived here in Whistle-town from more than one season chances are you’ve had plenty of experience with these parasitcal "friends" and leech-like "guests" who eat your food, stink up your toilet and, hopefully when you’re not home, jerk off to your stellar collection of pornography.

The age old art of couch surfing gets another chance on the silver screen this week when You, Me, and Dupree opens Friday at the good old Village 8.

Fresh off a huge hit with last year’s Wedding Crashers , Owen Wilson takes it a step further in this film and crashes an entire marriage. Newlyweds Carl (Matt Dillon) and Molly (Kate Hudson) have their lives disrupted when Carl, without asking or informing the wife, allows his oldest buddy Dupree to crash at their place for few days.

Of course a few days turns into much longer and Dupree, a charming, zany slacker who doesn’t want to grow up, causes all kinds of havoc that is supposed to pass for comedy but doesn’t. He interrupts sex, stinks up the bathroom, burns down the living room, jerks off (and gets caught) all the while befriending the neighbourhood children and embarking on a Lance Armstrong-influenced, Zen philosophy of eternal youth.

Even if you’re charitable enough to overlook the fact that Wilson, as an actor, is somewhat overexposed (averages two movies a year and somehow seems to play the same character in every one) or the writing and directing of the film is shaky at best. And even if you’ll let it slide that Hudson, Dillon, and Michael Douglas turn in bland, cardboard cut-outs of performances, the fact remains that the movie is missing one of the true ingredients required of a comedy – humour. It’s just not funny and actors like Hudson and Dillon should know better.

The three’s-a-crowd movie was done better by Nick Nolte in Down and Out in Beverly Hills and even by Sinbad in the truly-crappy-but-better-than-this Houseguest. All in all, You, Me and Dupree never gets past the cutesy, lowbrow humour of its rhyming title. Skip it unless you’re into serious masochistic agony, although this could be the kind of flick worth waiting for on DVD so you can harness its shitiness and use it to drive messy, unwanted guests off your couch next winter.

Speaking of masturbation, and where the values of the film industry truly lie, breaking news this week is that yes, Natalie Portman will indeed take off all her clothes in her upcoming film Goya’s Ghosts . After months of freeze-framing the thong shots of her in Closer, Portman fans can put their suicide plans on hold for a little while longer and wait for the new film, in which she plays the muse to persecuted Spanish painter Francisco Goya.

Perhaps less interesting to the average person but a good sign of how screwed up China is: Officials called the Beijing Movie Content Guardians have banned Pirates of the Carribean 2 from theatres in mainland China claiming they don’t like the way the supernatural is portrayed and they have a real problem with some scenes of cannibalism. This is a country that eats dogs, swallows nests, and that tasty rice wine with the suckling baby mice floating in it. Yum, but whatever you do, don’t show some cannibalism in a Disney movie, that’s disgusting! The citizens of China, however, are a crafty bunch. They’ve already sidestepped the Big Brother-esque Content Guardians and bootleg DVDs of the film are available for just under a buck, prompting thousands of journalists worldwide to crack the most obvious joke ever, Pirates has been pirated. Ha ha ha. What a tough job, eh?

AT VILLAGE 8 July 14-20: You, Me and Dupree; Pirates of the Caribbean 2; Superman Returns; Click; Cars; Devil Wears Prada.