You, Me and Dupree
In the animated film "Monster House," Nebbercracker is a crotchety old man who's always howling at the neighborhood kids to stay away from his dilapidated old house. When the curmudgeon croaks, the house comes alive. Windows turn into demonic eyes, the front door turns into a salivating mouth, and a rug unrolls from within like a tongue to devour anyone who dares come near. Unable to convince their elders of the hungry haunted house and sensing a feeding frenzy on Halloween, three children hatch a plan to bring the house down. It's showdown time with the neighborhood kids in one corner and the ravenous residence, the snacking shack, the creepy crib in the other. It's not exactly the rumble in the jungle. It's, more or less, just dyspepsia in suburbia. Innocuous fun, really. The kids' negotiations with a bored babysitter provides a good chuckle and a little insight into the non-adult world which children negotiate. The computer-animation simulates human movement so realistically that it's both impressive and disturbing. However, compared to inventive animated films like "The Incredibles" which entertain both children and adults on several different levels, "Monster House" is conventional. Nonetheless, young kids should find it entertaining enough.
1/2 ( Sherwin Das )
You, Me and Dupree
In the comedy "You, Me and Dupree," newlyweds Carl (Matt Dillon) and Molly (Kate Hudson) agree to take in Carl's best friend, the lovable screw-up Dupree (Owen Wilson) who wreaks havoc in the house and puts a strain on the couple's relationship. Meanwhile, Carl is trying vainly to please his duplicitous father-in-law/boss Mr. Thompson (Michael Douglas). When Carl senses that both his wife and father-in-law are starting to prefer the company of the directionless Dupree, he loses his cool. There's a strong undercurrent of emasculation in this film which is written and directed by two brothers: husbands whose wings are clipped by controlling wives; a father who dislikes his son-in-law so much he suggests a vasectomy, a procedure which he has undergone himself; and lines like "Lance Armstrong can do more with one testicle than we could do with three." Perhaps the point is to highlight what mid-life crisis looks like for the current generation of men. Regardless, the film is surprisingly boring. All of the comedy is built around Dupree whose lines just aren't very funny, and there's absolutely no buddy chemistry between the talented male leads who are, in keeping with the theme, effectively castrated by a bland script and uninspired direction.
( Sherwin Das )