Dane Cook is becoming as much of an annual fall presence as Tyler Perry. Both make critic-proof films that draw in their intended audiences with the promise of the big star, never much caring about anyone else. So even though My Best Friend's Girl features Kate Hudson, the star of more successful and better romantic comedies, the movie is all The Dane Cook Show, giving the stand-up comic another opportunity to tell dirty jokes and mug his way through a flimsy plot. Even his fans should be ashamed of how little effort he's putting into it.
This time Cook stars as Tank, a guy who repulses women as a profession-- recently dumped guys hire Tank to take their girls on the worst dates of their lives, under the assumption that the exes will come running back once they see what scumbags all other men are. Tank's buddies congratulate him on his ability to read women's minds, a strategy that amounts to making them feel like shit to lure them in, then making himself look like shit to get them to go away. We actually see him tell a girl to lay off the pretzels one moment, then make out with her the next.
Tank swears he won't mix family and business, but when his roommate and cousin Dustin (Jason Biggs) begs for help impressing his co-worker Alexis (Kate Hudson), Tank goes for it. Alexis is introduced in one brief scene as a type-A marathon runner, but on her date with Tank she's "one of the guys," laughing at vulgar music and a date at a strip club. But Alexis's personality isn't really the point, of course; all she needs to be is a vague pretty face while we watch Tank try to clean up his act. The plot of My Best Friend's Girl is strangely complicated, as Tank lies to Dustin about his relationship with Alexis, she decides and re-decides who she wants to date, and Tank occasionally goes back on the horror dates that make him his money. We also visit Tank at work, where he ogles his female co-workers, and catch snippets of girl talk between Alexis and her roommate (Lizzy Caplan), who is marked as the "wild girl" by constantly waving dildos all over the place.
And then there's Alec Baldwin as Tank's dad, a women's studies professor who also sleeps with his students and shares with Tank the most graphic details about his exploits. The problem with Mr. Turner, and Tank too, is that their sleaziest moments are actually the funniest; the movie claims to be all in favor of respecting women and engaging in real relationships, but the only good jokes come from men acting like complete assholes. The jokes about treating women like bowling balls and completely ruining a wedding may be funny in a stand-up routine, but in the context of a real story with supposedly real people, it all seems cruel and juvenile.
It's probably giving Dane Cook too much credit to assume he's teaching America's youth about relationships, but it's disturbing to think of the millions of teenage boys who will laugh when he insults a girl to get her in bed, or pees in a cactus plant at a restaurant. As Cook runs away with the movie, leaving no chance for any of his co-stars to keep up, he never comes across as anything more than a creep. And despite the movie's mealy-mouthed messages about love, no one who made it seems to have a problem with that.
In case the movie didn't annoy you enough on its own, the Cars song "My Best Friend's Girl" is used about four times throughout; apparently the producers were hellbent on getting their money's worth.