Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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Stiles proves blondes have more fun in A Guy Thing

By Lori Mastronardi
Gazette Staff

A Guy Thing
Starring: Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair
Directed by: Chris Koch

If you're interested in seeing a romantic, quirky comedy that varies from the likes of Maid in Manhattan – mostly due to the presence of intriguing actors – director Chris Koch's A Guy Thing provides a familiar love story with a twist.

The film dances from random moments of comedy to romantic interludes, telling the story of one man's search for self-discovery amidst unfortunate and embarrassing occurrences.

The picture begins at Paul's (Jason Lee) bachelor party, where he is subjected to warnings from his best friend (Shawn Hatosy), who indicates that the relationship realm includes three "rings": the engagement ring, the wedding ring and the suffering.

Since Paul is mere days away from marrying Karen (Selma Blair), his friends cook up elaborate bachelor party shenanigans, and he eventually finds himself in the midst of alcohol, leis and tiki girls.

The following morning, he awakes to find a sultry blonde (Julia Stiles) in his bed. Although not quite sure how she got there or what they did the night before, it quickly becomes clear to the audience exactly what happened between the two.

A week before his wedding, Paul finds himself caught in a tangled web of mishaps and confusion, as he desperately tries to erase any evidence of his bachelor party slip. This task proves to be larger than expected, as the blonde, Becky, begins to infiltrate his life – since, as it turns out, she is Karen's cousin.

Although Paul seems vaguely happy, he begins to understand that he yearns for the spark Becky brings to his life. He acknowledges that his life lacks the thrill that Becky urges him to possess.

Paul has a pretty, yet overbearing fiancée, who dresses him in distasteful sweaters and shiny shoes, and a secure, yet unfulfilling, career in which he works for his future father-in-law at a hunting magazine. He appears to be a character who fears acting on impulse and the possibility of changing his life for himself – that is, prior to Becky's appearance.

For what the film lacks in plot, it makes up for with amicable characters. Jackie Burroughs fills the role of the drunk and crude, elderly relative willing to do anything for the sweet taste of red wine. Jason Lee and Julia Stiles are both talented actors with great onscreen chemistry, which can be enjoyed by both sexes. In this film, Stiles is successful at morphing herself into a mature actor.

Ray is Becky's psychotic boyfriend, who definitely could have been written out of the film. He curses the movie with his own, unique brand of annoyance, though some may find his fighting tactics (starting food fights with Cheetos, eggs and chocolate milk) laughable, but ultimately immature.

Another weakness of the film is its depiction of women as na•ve, as Karen is easily fooled into believing that Paul did not cheat on her. A Spendmart employee manages to explain to Karen why Paul has dirty women's underwear in his apartment, while Karen's own father lets Paul off the hook because "we're men, we're hunters, it happens."

Guys watching this film may find themselves absorbed in Paul's ideal character, as his incessant errors in judgment still lead to an enviable life in which he is torn between Stiles and Selma Blair.

The film consists of bizarre, random happenings that eventually manage to connect to form a cohesive, light-hearted comedy. If you are searching for a happy ending, regardless of how predictable it may be, then this film may provide the perfect distraction from your own, seemingly hectic, life.


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