My Best Friend's Girl, Dane Cook's latest attempt to become a Hollywood romantic leading man, is not the worst movie the comedian has made (in fact, he says it's the best). It's also not the best, and demonstrates he may have a long way to go if he hopes to reinvent himself as a movie star.
The movie stars Cook as the unfortunately-named Tank (real name Sherman -- get it?). I say "unfortunately" because it requires actors to keep saying the name "Tank," even when we're meant to be taking them seriously during the movie's second half. Tank is a telemarketer by day, but by night has his own side job as a professional a-hole -- he's hired by recently-dumped guys to take their exes out and show them the worst night of their lives, thereby insuring that the women will be so turned off to other men that they'll run back into their jilted lover's arms.
When Tank's best friend Dustin (Jason Biggs of the American Pie films) is dumped by his girlfriend, Alexis (Kate Hudson, Almost Famous), Tank swoops in to work his magic and get the couple back together. To his surprise, though, he finds himself having feelings for his best friend's girl (see where the title comes in?), and has to choose between betraying his best friend or giving up on a shot at romance.
Saying that My Best Friend's Girl is an improvement over Cook's last stab at romantic comedy, the dreadful and offensive Good Luck Chuck, may not seem like high praise. And, to be honest, it probably isn't. Girl has many of the same problems as its predecessor: it casts Cook as a smug, unlikeable jerk whose enormous popularity with ladies makes absolutely no sense. For a movie intended to appeal to women, it's rather misogynistic, classifying them as either masochistic nymphos (who want to sleep with Cook because he insults them), shrill prudes or Kate Hudson. And, worst of all, its limited attempts at humor consist only of juvenile sex jokes and/or stuff that's intended to be gross.
Director Howard Deutch (The Replacements, The Whole Ten Yards) has rarely met a comedy he couldn't derail, but he's not the problem with My Best Friend's Girl. No, the biggest problem is that Cook agreed to be in it at all. He's not a bad actor and has enough charisma to hold the screen, but has got to start making some better choices in movie roles; last year's supporting part in Dan in Real Life was a step in the right direction, probably because it played against his strengths. Movies that play to his strengths -- or what he believes his strengths to be -- don't work. At this rate, Cook's going to destroy what little cinematic good will he's got left.
There's a moment about three quarters of the way through the movie that hints at what it could have been. Tank, finally embracing his a-hole side one hundred percent, does a slow-mo walk through a church while Johnny Cash's "When the Man Comes Around" plays on the soundtrack. It's just a digression (Cook's not really a jerk, see?) and seems to take forever (the slow motion doesn't help), but it suggests a better movie. Cook should have just gone ahead and played a total jerk, leaving the romantic stuff to someone else (preferably not Biggs). It might not exactly be the image he wants to project, but it would at least have been funny. Instead, the movie tries to please the boys with immature sex jokes and the girls by suggesting that Cook's really just a nice guy. The result is a movie that doesn't really please anyone.
My Best Friend's Girl is rated R for strong language and sexual content throughout, including graphic dialogue and nudity.
Theatrical Release Date - September 19, 2008