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THE NEW GUY

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin
Director: Ed Decter
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1, Standard 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: Music Video, Theatrical Trailers
Length: 89 Minutes
Release Date: August 13, 2002

“WHO’S DA BITCH NOW???”

Film ***

One’s enjoyment of The New Guy may depend on your sense of humor, for which case I was very much open during viewing. The movie is yet another basic high school teen comedy, released ironically by the same studio that had recently put out the teen spoof Not Another Teen Movie, but one reason this teen entry succeeds is that like a spoof movie, it doesn’t really take itself seriously at all. It exists simply to make the viewer laugh at any cost, and gets the job done in satisfactory doses. Another reason I personally enjoyed the movie is a key scene involving one the luscious female costars, which I’ll get to later.

The movie stars DJ Qualls, whom you’ll probably recognize at first glimpse as the kid in Road Trip who got served a special serving of French toast. Qualls plays Dizzy Harrison, a good-hearted individual who unfortunately is the target of many a cruel joke, most of the time in front of the whole school. Now entering his senior year at Rocky Creek High, Dizzy feels like things are about to turn around for the better. Things do turn around, but not for the better at all. He encounters a most embarrassing incident on the first day of school involving the fracturing of a certain body part (I won’t dare say which one). Not so long after that, he delivers an outrageous outburst in a mall as a result of the pain medication he is taking, and soon lands in prison.

Now why would he end up in prison after something like that? No matter, it’s just a plot setup for Dizzy to get some help on defending himself from the best in the business. That would be Luther, played by the very funny Eddie Griffin, who also serves as the narrator of the film. Luther got himself kicked out of prison and made a new start at the one he finds himself present in. The key advice he gives Dizzy is to do something at his school that would result in suspension, so that he can get a fresh start at a new school, and be free of being beaten down.

Dizzy soon succeeds in being suspended, after a funny sequence of heinous events, and Luther helps give the kid a new look, and new name, and an all around new attitude. Now under the alias Gil Harris, he plans to make his presence known at Eastland High, a run-downed school in need of some encouragement. Gil catches the attention of Danielle (Eliza Dushku), who as leader of the cheerleading squad, feels Gil’s enthusiasm could help spark needed attention at the school’s football team, whose games are pretty much unattended.

The key scene I was referring to earlier is a scene where Ms. Dushku gives a private bikini model show for Gil. I’m sure any guy who’s a guy will agree with me that watching this moment in the movie will be the definite high point, as well as not that far off of feeling like you’re in heaven. Kudos to the lovely Ms. Dushku for going close to all out with this scene.

I’d be lying if I said that The New Guy was an original, unpredictable and thought provoking piece such as the likes of Memento, but I wouldn’t if I said that it delivers multiple laughs, some charming performances from the leads, and some surprising pop-up cameos, a lot of which caught me by surprise. You won’t think much about it when it’s over, but the movie is very much worthy of viewing if you’re in dire need of some laughter.

Video ****

A much superior transfer from Columbia Tri Star, who rarely deliver their digital excellence on simple comedies, but The New Guy is a big exception. Colors and tones couldn’t be more natural and well-rendered, and the image is thoroughly and consistently sharp and ultimately crisp. No detection of grain, compression, or any possible image flaw. A most superb offering!

Audio ***1/2

CTS’ 5.1 track offering proved a big surprise for me as well. The presentation does a significantly good job delivering nice audio pick up in numerous scenes, and the soundtrack, which is a mixture of rock and hip hop, also helps in scoring this disc some much deserved high marks. Dialogue is terrifically clear, too.

Features **

Included is a music video for the song “I’m Just a Kid” by Simple Plan, and trailers for this film and these CTS releases, The Animal, Spider-Man, Mr. Deeds, and XXX.

Summary:

The New Guy delivers exactly what it promises in a genre like this, frequent laughs, a few crude jokes, and some attractive women, and blends it all into a good super silly entertainment.