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Movie Review

The morning after his bachelor party and a week before his wedding with Karen, Paul wakes up with a naked Tiki dancer in his bed. Her name is Becky, and she was part of the main attraction during the previous evening’s festivities. She's also his fiancée's cousin (although we don’t find that out until later). Paul can’t recall how she got there or what—if anything—they've done. Just then, the phone rings. It's Karen's mom. Karen's on her way over. Paul scrambles to push Becky out the door before his bride-to-be finds him in such a compromising position. Naturally, she leaves her panties behind. Paul quickly hides them in the toilet tank, and thus begins what’s supposed to be a series of hilarious episodes in which Paul must go to ever greater lengths to keep Karen from discovering the facts. Complicating matters is Becky’s former boyfriend, Ray, a corrupt cop with a vengeful temper, whose private investigator provides pictures of the two in bed.

positive elements: Paul and his brother express genuine concern for one another's well-being. Paul’s mother displays unconditional love for her husband.

spiritual content: A tough-to-like minister and his family (his son is depicted as an overweight nerd with a penchant for porn) live across the hall from Paul. Rev. Green, another minister scheduled to perform the wedding ceremony, is stodgy and cold (until he loosens up after unknowingly consuming a marijuana-laced entree at the rehearsal dinner). That pastor is also "taught" a lesson about satanic backward masking.

sexual content: The expression, "A guy thing" refers to an understanding that men will—of course—fool around. Then they'll lie for each other to protect the male gender from being discovered by snooping females. A sexy pin-up is pinned up in one character's room. A large photograph of a nude woman (facing sideways) is mounted in the men’s room at Hula’s Lounge (where the bachelor party takes place). The Tiki dancers don slinky flower-covered bikini tops while doing a hula-esque dance. One of Paul’s friends boasts that he too got "waylaid" after the bachelor party—emphasizing the second syllable. Assuming Paul had sex with Becky (they didn’t), this friend tries to reassure him that casual sex "is perfectly natural" because it’s "encrypted in our DNA." Besides, he reasons, Paul will never see the Tiki girl again—further underscoring the concept behind the movie's title. Paul enjoys dancing with a male dance instructor in a way that gives a wink to homosexual attraction. There are also numerous sexual jokes and innuendoes, including references to threesomes and masturbation.

violent content: The violence here is more "comical" than gruesome, and a lot of it happens in Paul's imagination. What follows alternates between "real life" and "make believe." When Ray beats up Paul and tosses him in a dumpster, he also cracks an egg on his head, stuffs corn curls up his nose and pours chocolate milk on him. Karen tries to gag Paul and shove Becky’s underwear down his throat. Paul does a karate number on Ray before getting in a headlock himself. Thinking he’s shooting at an animal that triggered his car alarm, a man accidentally shoots Paul with buckshot. Ray pushes a criminal to the ground in his cell (this scene is meant to paint Ray as the villain he is). When Paul accuses Becky for being responsible for his case of "crabs," she angrily denies it, before threatening, "If I get them, I’ll kill your crabby a--!"

crude or profane language: Paul’s favorite expression of shock is "holy s---!" A foul phrase that explodes from his mouth frequently. Other characters (including an elderly lady) also use the s-word, bringing the tally to almost 20. There’s one f-word and close to 30 abuses of God's name, including a couple of very disturbing uses of Jesus’ name. Milder profanity crops up, and an angry driver makes an obscene gesture at Paul.

drug and alcohol content: At the bachelor party, alcoholic overindulgence is so extreme Paul can’t remember anything of the night's frivolity. Even worse, there are really no negative consequences shown. Karen assumes Paul got drunk and tells him, "You should not feel guilty." Then to underscore how inebriation is expected at "these types of things," she mentions that at her bachelorette party, "Jody got wasted." Wine and champagne are available at a variety of family functions including the rehearsal dinner. Aunt Budge always wants more wine, even squeezing the cook’s testicles to force him to give her some. (Budge is also seen holding a cigarette.) A pharmacist posing as a chef prepares an entree using marijuana. The resulting giddiness at the rehearsal dinner is played for laughs. Becky takes a job as a bartender (and winds up throwing a drink on a rude guy who tries to pick her up).

other negative elements: Paul contracts pediculous pubis (crabs) from a toilet seat, but thinks he picked it up from Becky. Paul is publicly humiliated at a drug store when the pharmacist yells to another employee about the location of the "crab medicine." When Karen's mother overhears the pharmacist talking about crabs, Paul lies once more by saying the pharmacist is studying to be a chef. At the office, while giving a brief presentation to his colleagues, Paul scratches his genitals using a long metal pointer shoved down his pants. In an effort to hide from Becky at a family get-together, Paul claims he has diarrhea. While his family gathers outside the bathroom door (go figure!), he squeezes a bottle of shampoo to make the requisite sound effects. An aunt exclaims, "I’d kill for some diarrhea. I haven’t had a bowel movement in 14 days!" Even when Karen begins to doubt Paul’s stories and demands, "Be totally honest with me," he chooses dishonesty. Becky and Paul break in to Ray’s apartment to steal his photographic negatives.

conclusion: Admittedly, there are a few comical moments and some clever dialogue. But none that justifies the price of even a matinee movie ticket. When you start with a troubling premise (all guys fool around), it’s hard to go anywhere but down. And that’s exactly where A Guy Thing goes.

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Jason Lee as Paul; Julia Stiles as Becky; Selma Blair as Karen; Lochlyn Munro as Ray; James Brolin as Ken; Diana Scarwid as Sandra


Chris Koch ( )





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