Starring: Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Jason Biggs
Director: Howard Deutch
Running Time: 101 mins
My Best Friend’s Girl is an American film about a man who makes a hobby out of taking women on deliberately awful dates to show them how good their ex-partners are, however when he takes his best friend’s ex out, he starts to feel something different for her.
This film was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Although it is in truth a funnier and somewhat more interesting film than your fair share of romantic comedies, it takes a bit of a hardline approach to the genre, with its brand of comedy a little too heavy and rude at times for what seems like a simple rom-com. On the other hand, when things do go a bit sappy and cutesy, they’re just as jarring, meaning the film as a whole, while enjoyable, is a little all over the place when it comes to really finding your feet with it.
Let’s start off on the bright side, however, with the fact that this film is pretty funny for the most part. Although not a comedic masterpiece, the jokes here were far more consistent than I expected, and the range of very entertaining performances from Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, and especially Alec Baldwin in a surprise supporting role, who’s pretty much golden every time he appears on screen.
Secondly, the film does a really good job at establishing its characters effectively throughout the story, giving you a good idea of each of the players’ personalities in a way that’s more interesting than the typical guy and girl from the genre.
Of course, I’m not going to suggest that the story is in any way particularly original, however the fact remains that thanks to an effective and entertaining opening act where you see Dane Cook acting as much of a rude idiot as possible, there’s an impressive clarity and swiftness to the way the story pans out here.
Unfortunately, that clarity and swiftness isn’t quite the same across the whole movie. I won’t deny that I actually had some good fun with My Best Friend’s Girl, and it’s a film that exceeded my expectations, but its unavoidable biggest problem is the fact that it doesn’t know just how out there, or just how generic it wants to be.
The big difference between this film and your average rom-com is the fact that its comedy is a lot less fluffy. In that, there’s more swearing, more nudity etc, meaning that the film loses the potential to be a simple throwaway comedy that you can just smile along to throughout.
Fortunately, that harder comedy works well in the story’s context, given that it centres around a man who acts deliberately rude for a hobby/job. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t sit well with the moments that crop up by formula in the rom-com genre.
At times, you move from this rather hard and dark sense of humour to something very fluffy in the space of an instant. Particularly in the final act, when more formulaic rom-com service is resumed, the movie really struggles to balance its two distinct characteristics, meaning it’s a bit of a confused and jarring watch, and doesn’t quite provide the entertainment possible with a good base across the board.
Overall, I was surprised by My Best Friend’s Girl. It’s a generally enjoyable watch with some good laughs and a different approach to the rom-com genre, however it fails to establish itself perfecctly due to a bit of a mixed and confused atmosphere between harder comedy and lighter generic romance, which is why I’m giving it a 7.0.