You, Me and Dupree… and Act Three
While taking a break this weekend from the strenuosity of an amazingly busy work schedule (sorry to all whom I have not emailed), I caught You, Me and Dupree at the Sag Harbor Multiplex. Cute movie, boosted (IMO) by the last five minutes, which made me leave the theater at least happy.
I want to pose a question to you one and all, and to do so, bear with me, a little plot re-hash must be done here. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and want to, warning: spoilers ahead.
The story basically has Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson as newlyweds invaded by the ne’er-do-well buddy of Matt: the titular Dupree (Owen Wilson).
And, meeting the demands of the logline, and satisfying the “promise of the premise”… conflict builds. Owen becomes the guest who wouldn’t leave, causing jealousy for Matt, who is also in a battle with Kate’s overprotective father (Michael Douglas) whom Matt also works for.
Well, at the end of Act Two: All is way lost. Over dinner, having imagined Owen has the hots for Kate, and whom even Michael seems to prefer, Matt attacks his pal, throttling him and embarrassing all. The fight breaks up Matt and Kate, Matt walks out, and Michael tells Kate, “I told ya so.”
So here’s Act Three:
Matt is depressed that he lost his temper, and goes missing.
Being the active co-protaganist, Owen rounds up a group of neighborhood kids to go looking for Matt. It’s actually a montage, ladies and gentlemen: Owen pases out “Have You Seen Matt?” posters. And only a stroke of luck lets Owen find Matt — living in a bar the two buddies used to frequent.
The two hatch a plot. They must 1. Get Matt into the office buiding Michael owns and confront his father-in-law (the classic “storming of the castle” that so many Act Threes comprise) and 2. To do so, Owen must run interference with a funny Security Guard, who’s been set up throughout, and give his buddy Matt the chance to give Michael a piece of what’s left of his mind. And that’s basically what unfolds. Owen leads the Security Guard on a chase around the building; Matt has his showdown with Michael. In the end, both Matt’s friendship with Owen and marriage to Kate are resolved.
So, here’s the $21 million* question: Is this good screenwriting?
We know a showdown must take place in the always tough Act 3. We know the buddies must reunite and work together to solve the problem. But is this the best way to do it? Does “storming the castle” have to be the solution? Is it the best solution available? Or can you think of a better one?
I have my own opinion, but… as always… I welcome yours. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not (better if you have), please chime in!
*The actual opening take for Dupree was: $21,525,560