The New Guy Oct 7, 2012 22:35:59 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Oct 7, 2012 22:35:59 GMT -5
DJ Qualls and Eddie Griffin.
It's amazing what I'll allow myself to watch, isn't it? The New Guy lies comfortably at the bottom of the barrel in terms of comedic teenage-fare. Its jokes are tired, its sight gags consistently unimpressive, and its story only elevated by the capable performance of DJ Qualls. You may remember him; that geeky, weird looking kid from Road Trip? His only starring role is unfortunately a film infested with dead end cliches and stale jokes so powerful they could taint a resume for decades.
Qualls plays a high school senior named Dizzy, he's the stereotypical nerd who plays in a funk band and is treated with torment day in and day out at his high school. One day, Dizzy becomes involved in a little situation at school. Long story short, the poor guy's innocuous erection when talking to the pretty cheerleader leads to the librarian breaking his penis and sending him into a never-ending sea of embarrassment. For no real reason, loopier than all hell on prescription drugs, Dizzy intrudes on a church sermon at a local mall and is sent to prison.
In prison, Dizzy meets Luther (Eddie Griffin), a man who understands the position the poor sap is in and wants to help him out. Dizzy winds up expelled from his old high school and winds up taking advice from Luther on how to be hip and cool. He gives him a makeover and renames him "Gil Harris," as he attends the school run by preppy girls and jocks, East Highland High. He quickly sets his sights on school cheerleader Danielle (Eliza Dushku), and quickly learns the only way to leave an impression is to be a jerk, so that's exactly what he does.
One thing I truly need to admire about The New Guy is its lack of ambition. It's hard to find a film from the last few years that seems to be as inert and as lifeless as this one. From its drab title, to its cloyingly bland poster, contrived setup, stock characters that can be described and summed up in one word, unfathomable plot points, and a barrage of other things, it's almost as if the executives behind the picture told Columbia Pictures that they wanted to fund, produce, create, and distribute one of the most boring and listless examples of teenage banal.
And they succeeded. Not only does the film make us sit through ninety-three tedious minutes of cliches and dead-ends, it also shortchanges the comic ability of its headlining actor, Eddie Griffin, by giving him virtually zero screentime. The man shows up at leisure, pulls off the ominous prisoner with little convincing charisma, and seems to appear and reappear at convenience.
As stated before, DJ Qualls is an underrated talent, unfortunately confined to a supporting role more often than not or simply not recognized at all. This is tragic but also apparent when you have mediocre comedies existing on your resume in place of successful, possibly defining staples. If we were to compare The New Guy to, say, Stealing Harvard, you'd have to resort to the political method of picking the lesser of the two evils. If you compared it to the nineties icon Slacker, well, you'd be comparing art and trash.
Starring: DJ Qualls, Eddie Griffin, Eliza Dushku, and Zooey Deschanel. Directed by: Ed Decter.