My Best Friend’s Girl (2008)

Rated: R for strong language and sexual content throughout, including graphic dialogue and some nudity.
Length: 101 minutes
Grade: C+GB+C=B/F
Budget: $20 million
Box Office: $50 million (19 U.S., 18 Intl., 13 DVD)

Written by: Jordan Cahan (his first script)
Directed by: Howard Deutch (The Whole Ten Yards, The Replacements, Grumpier Old Men, The Great Outdoors, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Pretty in Pink)
Starring: Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Alec Baldwin, and Jason Biggs.

Dustin is in love with Alexis, who breaks off their relationship when he blurts out his love for her. Determined to get her back, Dustin employs his best friend, Tank, who specializes in being a complete jerk to women so they will rebound back to the nice guys or lesser jerks they have left. Unfortunately, Tank falls for Alexis and finds himself being treated as a mere object by her.

Entertainment Value: C+
It is funny in parts, largely by being outrageous and vulgar. For the most part, it’s Alec Baldwin who is funny, and sometimes Dane Cook.

Superficial Content: G
Drugs/Alcohol F, Sex/Nudity F, Violence C, Language G, Illegality
This is as vulgar and crude a movie you’re likely to see, mostly through discussions of sex and sex acts. There is some nudity at a strip club and lots of implied sexuality. People are drunk a lot, and there is moderate slapstick and fistfighting violence. Trust me when I say it’s a G. The unrated DVD is a hard R at least.

Significant Content: B+
Empathy develops in the hard-hearted when they suffer the experience of being used and abused which they give to others. Even a jerk will reform when he meets the right girl. Love means doing what is really best for someone else, not merely what you want. Anyone can change, and the people aren’t necessarily what they seem to be. Objectifying people will never produce real love. You can overcome the defects of your parents.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
It’s like every other Dane Cook or Jason Biggs movie I’ve ever seen: there’s going to be a lot of extremely crude stuff (which might or might not be funny) and then at the end there’s going to be some point that resembles decency. Does the end justify the means? These movies apparently think yes. I’m still unsure, but I will say this, I’d rather have a movie like this which at least ends on a right note than one that stays decadent all the way to the credits.

Discussion Questions:
~What sort of people are likely to watch these movies? Are those people going to be moved by the “lesson” section of the movie?
~Is Tank’s “service” more of a commentary on men or on women? What would a female version of this look like? Can love for a person be built on revulsion at some more awful other person?
~Tank advises men to treat women badly and with contempt in order to get them to fall for you. Does this actually work? Why? Is it a wise thing to do? What connection is this hinting at regarding attractive women who are willing to give away sex before marriage and their self-esteem? What sort of woman wouldn’t respond to this treatment?
~George Gilder theorizes that all men are basically barbarians until they find the one woman worth changing for. Is this true? Is it ever true for women?
~Who demonstrates true love in this movie? Does Dustin really love Alexis or only what she makes him feel for her? Does Tank really love Alexis? How do you know? Is Dustin attracted to Alexis because she treats him with contempt or because she is forbidden or because she doesn’t respond to him in predictable ways?
~Why are men enticed by a challenge? Are all men?
~Why are women enticed by bad boys? Are all women?
~It has sometimes been said that strong people need strong people to marry or else they’ll just walk all over them. How does this idea relate to this film?
Overall Grade: B/F
It’s awful, and I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you’re a misogynist in need of reform, in which case maybe it’ll do you some good.

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