Conformity or Calamity?
A Guy Thing
Review by Ross Anthony

When I screen films, I bring along a smart keyboard to make notes (while viewing) of my thoughts, interesting cinematic moments and quotes. The screening A Guy Thingfor "A Guy Thing" was no exception. However, by the end of the film, I'd not jotted down one single note. At the end of the presentation, I mentioned this to a reviewer friend, who promptly closed his notebook and said, "Nope, me neither."

Perhaps that says something about this picture: nothing overly dislikable, nothing overly lovable, nothing standoutish -- quite average. Nonetheless, I smiled pleasantly through most of the film, chuckled from time to time, and more or less, rooted for the happiness of the lukewarm nothing-special lead man played by Jason Lee.

Jason Lee seems infinitely apt at being likable, in fact, I get the feeling he really is likable in real life. In an interview with Jason for "Jay and Silent Bob," he indeed seemed quiet, a man of few words, but genuine and likable. And, while his unassuming demeanor works for "Guy Thing's" sort of secondary purpose -- a theme something along the lines of: "Oh, stop leading a safe humdrum life -- take some risks, go for the A Guy Thingdangerous girl;" I couldn't help but think someone like a young Jim Carrey might have spiced this picture up a bit. Incidentally, I enjoyed Jason's quirkier character in "Mumford" in which he gets to show off a few moves from his first career -- professional skateboarding.

As for Julia, playing the dangerous girl, I'm a big fan; but her performances here aren't much glossier (nor do they call for it) than pedestrian. I've said it before and I'll say it again ... she's one of America's best actresses. Selma Blair plays the safe girl; her acting is likewise perfectly safe. But the film isn't really about them -- it's about Paul (Jason Lee). Perhaps in its original form, the picture spent more time focusing on its theme; but on screen, bumbling fun antics dominate. In sum, a better than average, average film.

The production notes as well -- fairly average. That said, I liked this quote from producer Ladd, "Paul is a guy who had gotten on the conveyor belt of life." This angle ought have been beefed up rather than skinnied. Oh, one other interesting quote, this time from Jason who doesn't subscribe to the usual guy things, "I don't watch TV so I don't sit with the remote control and drink beer. I don't eat TV dinners. I don't watch sports, I don't leave the seat up and I'm not afraid to ask for directions."

  • A Guy Thing. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13
  • Starring Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair.
  • Directed by Chris Koch.
  • Screenplay by Greg Glienna & Pete Schwaba and Matt Tarses & Bill Wrubel.
  • Produced by David Ladd & David Nicksay at MGM.

Grade..........................B+ (weak)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:10:20 PDT