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RUNNING TIME: 101 Minutes
Two Audio Commentaries
Making it in Beantown Featurette
The Cast’s Guide to Dating
Professor Turner’s Sexist Rating System
The Prom: A Teenage Rite of Passage Featurette
It’s a love story for the emotionally stunted and the romantically retarded.
Director: Howard Deutch
Starring: Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Jason Biggs, Alec Baldwin
Dane Cook plays Tank Turner; a professional douchebag (apparently Cook is a method actor) who gets paid to take women out on the worst dates of their lives, thereby making them “appreciate” their ex boyfriends (the assholes who hire Turner) and come crawling back. When his best friend hires him to do just that, he ends up falling for the mark. Oh I wonder what happens…
THINGS THAT WOULD HAVE MADE THIS MOVIE BETTER #836: If this were the moment Stuntman Mike flipped his headlights on.
Fuck this movie.
I’ll admit, I’m not too well-versed in these big, dumb, raunchy, romantic comedies. Aside from this, the only other Dane Cook movie I’ve seen was Waiting and that was simply for Ryan Reynolds. So I basically went into this clean – I was pretty sure what to expect but part of me naively held out a little hope. And boy was I disappointed.
But not only was I disappointed, I gotta admit I was taken aback at just how fucking dumb and insulting this bloated, ignorant, completely wasted bit of film actually was. Almost every single character was reduced to a single-note stereotype. The women that Turner takes out are bubble-headed idiots who are so desperate for male companionship that all it takes is one bad date with Tank Turner to make them decide that their cheating, manipulative, emotionally unavailable boyfriends maybe aren’t so bad after all. So they go running back with mascara-stained cheeks and apologies on rapid fire to the very guys who PAID Turner an exorbitant amount of money to make them miserable. And that leads us right to guys that are either compulsive cheaters , using their girlfriends for nothing more than sex or are just too damned pathetic to close the deal and again – they pay some random asshole to take their girls out and make their lives miserable just so they don‘t have to deal with the inconvenience of being broken up with.
I’m sorry…but what the fuck?
I seriously doubt this is a real place but I kinda really wish it was.
And those are JUST the extra, filler characters – there are still the leads, who may be the most fucked up of all. We already know a little bit about Tank (whose real first name is Sherman, so he goes by Tank – wow), but what’s amazing to me is that the bullshit that he pulls on these dates is completely transparent. It’s another testament to the idiocy of these women that they can’t just see right through it. Things like playing “Pop That Pussy” at an ungodly volume in his car when he picks his dates up; having fake phone conversations with his “ex-girlfriend” about how he got both her and her sister pregnant; taking them to completely disgusting and offensive restaurants; making them pay – shit, any woman with an ounce of sense or integrity wouldn’t be able to do anything but break into a hysterical laughing fit. There’s no way on Earth that a guy this fucking predictable should be THAT good at this little game.
We also meet Jason Biggs’ character, Tank’s best friend and roommate Dustin – a chronic masturbator with a porn collection to rival anyone’s who’s in love with Kate Hudson’s Alexis – after only five weeks of knowing her. He’s the typical pathetic loser – completely obsessed with a woman who’s just stringing him along as her friend, unable to tell the difference between friendliness and attraction until such time that he pours his heart out only to be rejected. That’s real enough, in all fairness and happens all the time. And you do sort of feel bad for Dustin just because he’s so hopelessly clueless, but when he hires Tank to do what he does, you lose all sympathy for him and it only gets worse as he sinks further and further into desperation and obsessive creepiness. Again, it is believable, and he’s the only character in the movie that’s based in any sort of realism.
I didn’t see it until I was trolling for grabs, but that says GYNATOWN. Amazing.
That brings us to Alexis. I’ll concede that I held out hope for her character up until the very, very end. She was smart, she was sincere and you could tell that she actually was at least somewhat interested in Dustin and cared about him as a person. And of course, she played along with all of Tank’s bullshit. She knows every word to “Pop That Pussy” and doesn’t mind singing along as loudly as the radio. She doesn’t blink an eye when Tank takes her to a strip club and actually invites him in for quick, easy sex when the night is over. And it’s not because she’s crazy or unstable or easy – it’s because she’s actively and blatantly calling him on his bullshit. A move that’s confirmed the next day when she calls him and proceeds to ask him just “what kind of an asshole acts like an asshole and then when it comes time to actually BE an asshole, walks away?” in the movie’s ONLY funny scene. She’s great and you can appreciate her…until they start fucking. Regularly. She’s turned him into a regular booty call and she’s doing it so she can learn to appreciate Dustin as a potential boyfriend better. What? But of course they HAVE to start fucking because how else is Turner gonna fall for her and let those power dynamics change? It’s predictable bullshit and it’s even worse because it undermines the ONLY INTELLIGENT CHARACTER YOU HAVE simply to make Cook’s character more sympathetic. It also leads to his big sweet moment – taking Alexis to a high school prom since she had to miss hers due to having to have her dog put down. And that’s like pretty much the only decent thing he does in the entire movie.
I like to think she’s actually having an argument with it.
But it gets worse – see, Tank‘s starting to wonder if he‘s good enough for Alexis. She may be the best he‘s ever gonna get, but is he the best she‘s ever gonna get? He ultimately decides no (after a chat with his oversexed, completely disgusting Dad played to perverted perfection by Alec Baldwin) and decides to have a little meltdown at Alexis‘ sister‘s wedding. Instead of just leaving her he proceeds to orchestrate the biggest catastrophe he can which goes on for about 20 minutes of the running time and culminates in his removing his pants, sticking his dick in Alexis’ mother’s face and informing her that it “isn’t going to suck itself.” I’ll give them credit – THAT’S not his usual Tank Turner brand of faux-badass bullshit. To quote Jules Winfield – “that’s some fucked up, repugnant shit.” Of course he does all of this to fulfill the promise he made to Dustin and put him back in the game, but that gets undermined because Dustin shows up drunk to the wedding and causes his own scene, subsequently ruining any shot he might have had to begin with. So now both guys are assholes and Alexis is left heartbroken, disgusted and alone. And what the fuck does she do? She takes Tank back. It takes another half hour or so and there’s a moment where she tells him he’s a fuckup and that she never wants to see him again (had the movie ended there I would be writing a completely different review because Turner’s character deserves to be alone and miserable and it would have vindicated Alexis to leave him like that, but no), but by the end of the movie she decides she can’t get over him and she takes him back. There is no vindication, there’s no lessons learned, there’s nothing but a perfectly happy ending for two completely fucked up people who have no idea what being in an adult relationship is all about.
And the truth of it all is that it’s just lazy writing. All of Turner’s bullshit is nothing more than shock value for cheap laughs with no mind paid to the fact that when you take his character to those extreme depths that you can’t help but drag her down with him in the end. You’re not happy for either of them. You don’t feel like anybody grew or matured. You’re left with two people who totally deserve each other and the completely fucked-up, codependent, disastrous relationship that they’re in for. There’s no irony, there’s no little nudge to let the audience know that everybody’s in on the joke. It’s just sad and lazy and misogynistic and you can’t help but feel like anyone who champions this exercise in frustrating insanity just doesn’t have a clue.
Again – fuck this movie.
I‘m not even gonna talk about the artwork because it‘s fucking boring.
For bonus features, there are two commentaries, one with Jason Biggs, Jordan Cahan and Greg Lessans and another with director Howard Deutch. I didn‘t listen – I didn‘t care to. But know that they’re there.
Before the days of online multiplayer, all you could do was call your friend and talk shit while you played against the AI.
There are also a lot of little Featurettes. One with everyone talking about their experiences of making the movie in Cook’s hometown of Boston. Another with the cast giving their own bullshit dating tips. A third where the cast talks about their prom and another where they dissect Professor Turner’s (Tank’s dad) alphabetical rating system for women (instead of just using 1 through 10, he uses A through Z). They’re all cute enough but they’re fluff, obviously.
There are also a few deleted and extended scenes and I did watch all of them and I gotta say, the one thing I noticed in almost every one was that it cut out dialogue or character moments that made people more genuine. It’s like they didn’t wanna weigh these people down with actual sincerity, so they cut that shit out to make room for more of Cook’s douchebaggery. Fucking ridiculous.
To you and me it’s just an obscene gesture, but to the Hollow Man it’s an invitation.