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A Guy Thing: Special Edition

If while watching A Guy Thing you're struck by the thought that some of Jason Lee's desperate antics are vaguely reminiscent of (albeit not nearly as funny as) the situations Ben Stiller faced in Meet the Parents, you'll be glad to know you're not just imagining things. Greg Glienna, the co-writer of A Guy Thing, wrote, directed, and starred in the 1992 short film that inspired the Stiller-De Niro yukfest; thankfully, the folks behind that movie were wise enough to let someone else have final say on their script, and the result was a hysterical comedy of errors. A Guy Thing, on the other hand, is one of those predictable, harmless, occasionally funny romantic comedies that tends to inspire comments like, "Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be." As Paul, an easy-going shlub who drinks too much at his bachelor party and wakes up the next morning in bed with one of the dancing girls, leading man Lee gets caught up in a snowball of lies that only gets bigger when he discovers that the girl (Julia Stiles) is his fiancee's vivacious, free-spirited cousin Becky. Frantic to keep the indiscretion a secret from his uptight bride-to-be (Selma Blair), Paul invents story after story as he tries to straighten out the mess — but, naturally, things only get worse (Becky has a cheerfully psycho ex-boyfriend). It won't be giving much away to say that living with fear and adrenaline for a week smacks Paul out of his satisfied, safe existence and makes him question the way his life is going. Jason Lee, on the other hand, seems to be settling for this type of easy, paint-by-numbers role with increasing regularity (Heartbreakers, anyone?). He's still funny, but his humor doesn't have the edgy bite it had in movies like Chasing Amy and Dogma. Of course, it doesn't help that the rest of the film's characters are broad stereotypes: David Koechner and Julie Hagerty are crass and tasteless as Paul's lower-middle-class parents, while Karen and her folks (Diana Scarwid and James Brolin) are almost as painfully white bread as John Corbett's WASPy parents in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Stiles is refreshing as Becky, but her character isn't really any more developed than the others. A Guy Thing offers a few unexpected chuckles (Paul's fascination with his burly dance instructor, Larry Miller's turn as a prim reverend), but in the end, it's nothing you haven't seen before. Same goes for the features on MGM's special edition DVD — there are plenty of them, but they're not particularly innovative. The list of extras includes photo galleries, three featurettes, a "fun fact track" that runs with the film, three alternate endings, an interactive relationship quiz, an 11-minute gag reel (most of which is Lee laughing), seven deleted scenes, trailers, and a boisterous commentary by Koch, Lee, Stiles, Blair, and Thomas Lennon (he plays Paul's brother Pete). The double-sided disc offers both anamorphic (1.85:1) and full-screen transfers, as well as DD 5.1 audio (French 5.1 and Spanish 2.0 Surround tracks also are available, as are English, French, and Spanish subtitles). Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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