Tasteless debauchery

Sunday October 12 2008
mago sub 1 pix

A promotional poster for My Best Friend’s Girl

Tank (Dane Cook) has a job in the complaints department at a company that sells air purifiers. He has a thousand and one excuses for why customers should not get their hard-earned money refunded, even when these devices fail.

He has an unsavoury evening job too! A master at seducing — and offending women.

When guys get dumped, they hire Tank to take their ex-girlfriends out for the worst time of their lives — an experience so dire it sends the girls rushing faster than a turbo-charged football back into the arms of their spurned — but victorious — boyfriends.

Tank is put to the ultimate friendship test when his roommate Dustin (Jason Biggs, of American Pie fame) hires him to take his ex-girlfriend Alexis (Kate Hudson) on one such abysmal date.

However, Tank has met his match, Alexis is not only smart, beautiful and wilful, she is the first girl who knows how to call Tank’s bluff and ignores his chauvinistic and porcine behaviour such as playing the car stereo at full volume on the way to their first night out — at a lap-dancing club.

As Tank’s typically effective 10-step routine backfires, the roles are reversed. Soon Tank is torn between his loyalty to Dustin and his love for his best friend’s girl, while desperate Dustin — who is convinced he is Mr Right — tries to become more like Tank in an attempt to get Alexis back.


Director Howard Deutch is the same person who brought us Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful — two superior teenage angst movies.

If My Best Friends’ Girl from Lionsgate is a comment on acceptable current dating mores, and you have teenage daughters — hire the DVDs of the former two and keep them well away from the cinema.

Kate Hudson’s role as the emotionally detached and sexual predator is a departure from her typically wholesome parts.

But what was a veteran comedy actress like Hudson thinking when she agreed to be the lead actress in this dire unromantic, unfunny Rom-com? Daughter of Goldie Hawn, Hudson’s former films include the remake The Four Feathers and heart-warming Raising Helen. She has well over 20 other films in her filmography too.

Cook, who slurs his words (does he have a drink problem?) and was last seen in Employee of the Month, might actually be like the character Tank in real life. He has been quoted as saying, “You know you’re drunk when you think that the cab-fare is the time.”

If we think Tank is a loathsome sleaze-bag, we cringe at the antics of his on-screen father, Professor Turner (Alec Baldwin), who is even worse and takes the Lothario persona to extremes. In fact, Baldwin overacts his part as a lewd and crude serial womaniser, but does however deliver the one and only redeeming line in the film.

When talking about his deceased wife, he tells Tank she told him on their wedding night that he was the best thing for her…. “I had to ask myself – was I the best thing for my wife?” One wonders!

The film is filled with vile creatures, and so we don’t really care what happens to any of them. A few scenes fetch a smattering of laughs — such as when Dustin’s eyebrow is accidentally shaved off!

But for the most part, My Best Friend’s Girl replaces humour acts with debauchery and tasteless sexual encounters.

Imagine the most repulsive things that could take place at your sister’s wedding — in this film they do, only here they are even more vulgar than you could possibly imagine. Finally, the film resorts to bland rom-com conventions towards its appointed end.

In other cinema-related news, Paul Newman, the movie legend died at the age of 83 on September 26. One of the most sublime of actors, and a good citizen, Newman gave away over $100 million to charity.

He was a major star in the 1960 with such greats as The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, George Roy Hill and Sam Mendes, the last film he appeared in.

Spike Lee’s new movie, Miracle at St Anna, was released last month. Will audiences be watching this film in East Africa?

We hope so. Miracle at St Anna follows four black soldiers of the all-black 92nd Infantry Division who are trapped near a small Tuscan village on the Gothic Line during the Italian campaign of World War II after one of them risks his life to save an Italian boy.

The story is inspired by the August 1944 Sant’Anna di Stazzema massacre perpetrated by the Waffen-SS in retaliation for Italian partisan activity. When he was growing up in Brooklyn, Spike Lee said, he and his brothers loved war movies:

“We were three little boys, so it was fun to see the Germans get shot and blown up and stuff like that. But even as a kid, I knew that black people were involved in the war because my father’s two older brothers were involved in World War II.”

Meanwhile, the deadline for entries for the the Aubagne International Film Festival, which will take place on March 16-21 2009, is fast approaching on October 15th 2008. The festival supports young cinematographic and musical creation.