My Best Friend's Girl

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Dane Cook is never quite as convincing as when he's playing a total asshole, and he gets to do so in spades in "My Best Friend's Girl," a raunchy R-rated comedy about a man with a lucrative sideline driving women back into their spurned boyfriends' arms. As the appropriately named Tank, the comedian garners significant laughs, with Kate Hudson obviously relishing the chance to cut loose as one of his prospective victims.

In the film's early scenes, Jordan Cahan's high-concept script would seem to hold some promise, as Tank demonstrates the epitome of male boorishness in hilariously no-holds-barred fashion. But eventually the conventions of romantic comedy take hold, with the humor declining precipitously.

Tank meets his match in Alexis (Hudson), the object of unrequited passion from her nebbishy co-worker Dustin (Jason Biggs), who happens to be Tank's best friend and roommate. When Dustin hires Tank to work his brand of alienating magic, the plan backfires, with Alexis, looking to sow some wild oats, taking a shine to her suitor despite his wildly inappropriate behavior.

Thus begin the inevitable romantic complications, with Tank desperately trying to conceal the relationship while Dustin becomes ever more desperate. Watching with bemusement are Alexis' goth roommate (Lizzy Caplan) and Tank's father (Alec Baldwin), a horndog college professor who preys on his female students.

Director Howard Deutch ("Pretty in Pink") is unable to enliven the more tired comedic bits, which include a wholly superfluous scene in which Dustin has his eyebrows shaved off (it made for a good moment in the trailer) and another in which Tank takes one of his dates to a religious-themed pizzeria.

Cook, delivering his most effective screen performance, and Hudson, freed from the silliness of her Matthew McConaughey pairings, generate real comedic sparks. And Baldwin, who also specializes in portraying male obnoxiousness, again proves himself an ace scene-stealer.

Cast: Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Jason Biggs, Lizzy Caplan, Alec Baldwin. Director: Howard Deutch. Screenwriter: Jordan Cahan. Producers: Adam Herz, Gregory Lessans, Josh Shader, Guymon Casady, Doug Johnson, Barry Katz, Brian Volk-Weiss. Rated R, 103 minutes.



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