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The New Guy

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: The New Guy

Starring: D.J. Qualls, Lyle Lovett
Director: Ed Decter
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: May 2002
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Gene Simmons, Tony Hawk, Henry Rollins, Vanilla Ice, David Hasselhoff, Eddie Griffin, Eliza Dushku

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

What a waste of time and money! This rip-off of every teen movie you've ever seen centers on Dizzy Gillespie Harrison (DJ Qualls). Known as Diz, he's a nerdy senior at Texas' Rocky Creek High School. Between his father (Lyle Lovett) and guidance counselor (Ileana Douglas), he somehow gets on anti-psychotic medication - which leads to temporary incarceration with a jailhouse guru named Luther (Eddie Griffin), who advises him to get expelled so he can really learn the technique of being a dominant male, then go to a new school and reinvent himself. And - sure enough - at East Highland High School as "the new guy" with a prison record, he struts his stuff while refining the art of intimidation and restraint. David Kendall's screenplay, directed by Ed Decter, is pure drivel with one redeeming feature: once empowered in his new venue, Diz - now known as Gil - revolutionizes the cruel social caste system, gets the bullies to stop picking on the helpless dweebs, and encourages school spirit. But at what price? And why would the sexy cheerleader babe (Eliza Dushku) find him attractive? DJ Qualls swaggers appropriately; hey, he was once a Calvin Klein model. And bikini-clad Eliza Dushku wiggles seductively, even while riding a mechanical bull. There are quick glimpses of Gene Simmons of Kiss, Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Jerry O'Connell, David Hasselhoff and metalhead poet Henry Rollins, along with Vanilla Ice, as a music store clerk, and Kool Mo Dee, as a prison guard - but only Zooey Deschanel gives a truly credible performance. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The New Guy" is a dim-witted, disposable 3, delivering a loud, MTV-driven lesson that real friends will like you no matter how many dumb mistakes you make.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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