The New Guy: Director's Cut review by Mike Long

As if we needed more proof that eventually every movie will be released at least twice on DVD, Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment brings us The New Guy: Director's Cut. (We could also debate about every movie getting a director's cut, but that would get way off topic.) But, in this case, the "double-dipping" may not be so bad, as The New Guy is a quirky comedy which needs as much exposure as it can get.

D.J. Qualls stars in The New Guy as Dizzy Harrison, a teenager who loves funk music and lives with his Dad (Lyle Lovett). As the film opens, Dizzy is starting his senior year of high school and is determined that he will no longer be a "blip" on the high school radar, much to the chagrin of his friends, Nora (Zooey Deschanel), Kirk (Jerod Mixon), and Glen (Parry Shen), all of whom are in Dizzy's bad, Surburban Funk. However, Dizzy's play soon go awry, as he is embarrassed by a cheerleader, threatened by two jocks, and assaulted by a teacher, all on the first day of school. These events cause Dizzy to lose it, and after crashing a public choir performance, lands in jail. (Actually he goes to a prison, but that wouldn't make any sense, now would it?) Once there, he meets Luther (Eddie Griffin), a seasoned convict who gives Dizzy tips on how to be a bad-ass (and go "crazy eyes"). Armed with this knowledge, Dizzy gets a makeover, changes his name to Gil Harris and transfers to a new school, where he immediately bests the school's number one jock (Ross Patterson), and gains the affections of cheerleader Danielle (Eliza Dushku). As Gil gains popularity, he begins to forget his Suburban Funk friends, and there are forces that want to reveal his charade.

The New Guy is a great example of the new-type of modern comedy in which a fairly mundane, straight-forward plot is coupled with genuinely bizarre, unrealistic jokes. The plot concerning Dizzy's transformation into the popular Gil is far from original, but it does create a backbone for the film and offers some good jokes. But, the film's real comedy and true appeal comes from the weird moments, such as Lyle Lovett's character revealing his braces, or Luther's coveted picture of Janet Jackson which adorns his jail cell wall. It's the combination of the mundane and the weird that makes The New Guy work. The simple scenes in which Gil must try to fit in will suddenly be interrupted by a hard left into strange-town in which a diminutive man goes crazy.

The other interesting aspect of The New Guy are the cameos. I dont want to give them away, but you wont believe the familiar faces which turn up in this film and most of them are involved in strange jokes. Besides the overall predictability of the movie, the only real flaw in The New Guy is the suspension of disbelief required to believe that Qualls could be tarted up enough to be the popular guy. Granted, The New Guy is basically a dumb comedy which will only appeal to those who enjoy 7th grade humor, but I think that many will be surprised by the risks that the movie takes to get laughs.

The New Guy: Director's Cut comes to DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp, but there is a visible of coating of grain on most shots. The colors are very good, and the image is never too dark. There are some moments where artifacting is noticeable, but not overly distracting. Overall, the video is good, but not great. The DVD features a Dolby Digital 5.1 (192 kbps) audio track which provides clear dialogue and shows no indication of hissing or distortion. The tracks also offers some nice surround sound during the crowd scenes and the films rock soundtrack sounds very good.

The Directors Cut version of The New Guy only runs about 4 minutes longer than the PG-13 rated theatrical cut (which was on the previous DVD release) and it offers some new jokes and a newly cut opening which reveals more of Dizzys back-story. The DVD features an audio commentary with director Ed Decter, writer David Kendall, and actors D.J. Qualls and Eliza Dushku. This is a fine commentary as Decter, Kendall, and Qualls speaks at length about how the film was shot and what Qualls had to do to prepare for the shooting. Dushku doesnt say much, but she does reveal that she watches MTVs Cribs. OK... Speaking of MTV, a music video for the song Im Just a Kid from the band Simple Plan is included here and it contains members of the films cast. Finally, we have the theatrical trailer for The New Guy, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1, has 5.1 sound, and is 16 x 9.


6 out of 10 Jackasses

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