It’s official: Owen Wilson has outstayed his welcome. Or, at the very least, the towheaded Texan needs to switch up his shtick, as his eternal lost-boy persona has gotten a little old. He’s the third part of the title’s platonic love triangle, a go-with-the-flow frat rat named Dupree who’s competing for the attention of his old friend (Dillon) with the buddy’s uptight wife (Hudson). Crashing at the couple’s new pad, the nightmare houseguest compromises the master bedroom’s commode. (Cue tired stinky-poo jokes.) Once Dillon’s upwardly mobile workaholic starts spending late nights at the office, Wilson’s free spirit transforms into the dream hubby Hudson doesn’t have. (Cue paranoid fantasies about face-licking.) Can the newlyweds save their floundering marriage? Is Dupree destined for greater things than couch surfing? Did we just save you $10.50?
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo know how to maximize hangdog charm (see 2002’s Welcome to Collinwood), but like Wilson, they are stuck in a rut. Whenever the energy starts to flag, the best the Russos can do is slap on stock rom-com elements: a pop-song-scored montage here, a poor attempt at physical comedy there. Casting Dillon in the Ben Stiller straight-man role is a mistake (he can’t pull off Stiller’s neurotic slow burns), as is giving the gifted Hudson little to do besides perky pouting. That leaves Wilson’s one-note performance without a strong foil, which produces nothing but the sound of crickets chirping. Where’s smarmy Vince Vaughn when you really need him? (Opens Fri) — David Fear