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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

you and me and ‘Little Man’ and ‘Dupree,’ or something

If you keep track of my little stoplight rating system over there in the righthand column, you might have noticed that my rating for You, Me and Dupree changed early this week from a yellow to a green. This happened because I left the theater pleased that the film was not the awful disaster I was anticipating it would be and yet still not quite the flat-out joy that Wedding Crashers was (for all its problems)… And then, the more I thought about Dupree, and as I sat down to write my review (which was finished early in the week), I realized that I was finding a lot more to chew over than I realized at first. Some movies are like that — you find yourself thinking about them much more than you thought you would, and enjoying thinking about them much more than you thought you would. Hence the change in rating.

I was a bit surprised, then, to read David Poland’s column this past Wednesday, in which he jumps on Dupree with a vehemence that I wasn’t expecting, talking of the coming “critical backlash” that would “eviscerate this mess of a comedy.” Not that I expect all critics to agree on every film — obviously, I don’t, and I would see little point in continuing reviewing films if I were merely regurgitating what every other critic was saying, if I didn’t feel I had something unique to add to the conversation. But I didn’t imagine the film was going to be “eviscerated.”

Likewise, I never in my wildest nightmares imagined that Little Man — which, after I endured it Wednesday, instantly became my new Worst Movie of the Year So Far, a position long held by The Benchwarmers — would have its proponents. Poland — hee hee — calls it “utterly lacking in couth,” but the critics sampled at Yahoo! Movies give it a collective, and shocking, grade of C. Dupree there rates a barely better C+. At Metacritic the ratings for Man and Dupree are, at the moment, respectively, 30 and 47 (out of 100); and both films have an identical freshness rating at this posting of 18 percent at Rotten Tomatoes.

Me, I found that with Little Man, the Wayanses discovered even more depths of awfulness and idiocy than even their hideous White Chicks suggested was possible. I won’t have a review of Man posted today — I’m still trying to get my head around its perversity, still trying to come with an approach that will make the review worth reading.

And if nothing else, I need to cement this weird divide I find myself in this week, championing a film that seems to have so few champions, and reviling a film that seems to have so many fans. I’ve been outside the mainstream on plenty movies before, but I don’t recall another week where I happened to be in opposition at both ends of the collective opinion at the same time. Weird.

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  • I am hoping you are right about Dupree. I think Owen Wilson is extremely charismatic. I have avoided seeing it thoug because Kate Hudson is in it. If Kate Hudson has any talent, I haven’t seen it yet. She’s a pale copy of her talented mother.

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