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Movie Review

Dizzy is a loser. At least that's what he thinks. Ask around at his high school and you'll find only a handful of kids who'll disagree with that. He's been bullied, picked on, beaten up, humiliated and despised "his whole life." And he's had just about enough. Something's got to change. Local prison inmate Luther is just the man to show him how to do it. Does it matter how they meet? No. Not much matters here, in fact. Just the pranks. The gross-outs. And "the babes." Luther teaches Dizzy how to stand up for himself, how to spruce up his geeky looks, how to act crazy so everyone will respect him and how to get the women to come running. Oh, and he shows him how to fight dirty, seemingly an essential skill for making yourself into a hip dude.

Rebirth training complete, Dizzy breaks every rule he can think of at school to get himself expelled. He needs a fresh start in a new environment to make the transformation work. Once he's "the new guy" in a new school, he sets out to show his new peers who's boss. And he does. But Diz is still a nerd inside, so he gradually uses his finagled popularity to even the playing field for everyone at the school. Oh, and he also helps his new friends on the football team beat the tar out of his old enemies at that other school.

positive elements: Despite exploiting humiliating hijinks for laughs throughout the movie, the writers build in a sense of injustice over the way things are. Cliques, bullies and snobs take a drubbing. Dizzy shows everyone that high school hierarchies are flimsy, hurtful social structures deserving of obliteration. He's blinded by his unexpected popularity for a time, but ultimately stands up for his old friends and includes them in his moment of triumph.

spiritual content: After a minister lectures on the virtues of abstinence, Dizzy, doped up on prescription medication, "preaches" to his schoolmates about the horrible life outsiders lead. Upon seeing a comely girl, one lustful boy comments, "I imagine God having an a-- like that."

sexual content: An extended gag (around which the whole movie revolves) depicts Dizzy getting aroused by a pretty girl at school. When his "tented" pants attract the guffaws of his classmates, an elderly librarian (in a wheelchair) reaches for what she calls "his weapon," grabs it and breaks it. Luther makes a series of sexual jokes about prisons and high schools. And there are dozens of crude sexual innuendoes, double entendres and jokes (straight and gay). Girls are almost always objects of boys' lustful thoughts. Many of the high school girls saunter through the hallways immodestly dressed. Danielle, who Dizzy "steals" from the most popular guy in school, models a succession of skimpy swimsuits (while in them she dances seductively for Diz while he sucks on a lollipop that gets bigger). After being propositioned at a party, Dizzy yells at the top of his lungs, "I almost got laid." Shots of high school cheerleaders are intentionally sexualized, as are images of Danielle riding a mechanical bull. There's also passionate necking between a couple of high school couples.

violent content: Most of the violence is played for laughs, and nearly all of it is humiliating for at least one of the participants. Prison guards laugh after shooting an escaping prisoner (off screen). Luther shows Dizzy how to distract a man he's fighting so that he can kick him in the crotch and ram his knee into his face. That unpleasant little sequence in repeated several times. After ordering Diz to climb a rope (like in gym class), Luther lights the bottom of the rope with his cigarette lighter. Dizzy flips off a motorcycle and catapults over a car. He also crashes the bike into a bush. A school bully harasses a smaller student by ramming him into a trash can and rolling it down a hill. Several male students (Diz included) are forced to wear rubber breasts and are shown tied to chairs. Dizzy hurls a flaming marshmallow at his father (the burning, gooey mess sticks in the man's eye). "Roll around on the ground, Dad," Dizzy flippantly says, advising him on how to put the fire out. Head-butts, slaps, hits and plenty of other forms of intimidation and meanness abound.

crude or profane language: One muffled and one bleeped f-word. About a dozen s-words. Most offensive here, however, is the non-stop use of crude and degrading terms for women, genitalia, breasts and sexual activity. God's name is also abused.

drug and alcohol content: Dizzy gets high on prescription medication (the school counselor gives him the drugs to combat what she diagnoses as Tourette's syndrome. Kids drink alcohol at a party.

other negative elements: While doing everything in his power to get expelled from school, Dizzy rips a security camera off the wall and photographs the principal using the toilet (the video feed ends up on all the classroom monitors). A guy makes an obscene gesture at the cheerleaders.

conclusion: In a word: drivel. DJ Qualls got his start in the puerile Road Trip starring opposite raunchy MTV comedian Tom Green. Tom Green went on to make Freddie Got Fingered, a monstrously offensive production that is generally regarded as the worst film of 2001. The New Guy is a frontrunner for that award in 2002. The lesson there for Qualls is to be careful who you do movies with, their incompetence just might rub off on you.

One minute The New Guy is as melancholy as Freaks and Geeks, the next it's Revenge of the Nerds. One minute it's as randy as American Pie, the next it's trying to clone Remember the Titans' emotional high ground. One minute it’s a blistering Breakfast Club-style commentary on high school factions, the next it's Ernest Goes to Jail. This movie can't make up its mind what it wants to be and so the story completely flops. The acting reeks of late-night infomercials, and the action is about as stimulating as a traffic jam. Need a few more reasons to skip this one? How 'bout rude sexual humor, degrading violence and gross anatomical gag lines? So in conclusion, and in the spirit of this terminally clichéd and dismally dull movie, here's one final watery line: Don't make friends with The New Guy.


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DJ Qualls as Dizzy Harrison; Eddie Griffin as Luther; Eliza Dushku as Danielle; Lyle Lovett as Bear Harrison; Zooey Deschanel as Nora; Parry Shen as Glen; Laura Clifton as Emily; Kurt Fuller as the Principal; Gene Simmons as the Reverend; Henry Rollins as the Warden; also Tony Hawk, Tommy Lee and David Haselhoff as themselves


Ed Decter ( )


Columbia Pictures



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On Video

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Steven Isaac

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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