THE NEW GUY
Underdog Becomes Top Dog
Release Date: May 10, 2002
Starring: D. J. Qualls, Eddie Griffin,
Eliza Dushku, Lyle Lovett, and
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: Ed Decter
Executive Producer: John J. Strauss, Ed Decter,
Michael Fottrell, and Greg
Producer: Gordon Gray and Mark Ciardi
Writer: David Kendall
Address Comments To:
Amy Pascal, Chairman
John Calley, Chairman/CEO
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
(B, Pa, Ho, LLL, VV, S, N, A, DD, M) Slight moral worldview with pagan elements, including sometimes comical winks at teenage sexuality and comical homosexual references; about 53 obscenities, 7 profanities and urinating; lots of slapstick violence such as pratfalls, comical physical abuse, throwing people down hills, stuffing people in trashcans, motorcycle crashes three times, man’s head catches on fire, lighter burns student’s finger, groin kicks, and fighting; some references and sleazy hints to sexual immorality among teenagers but nothing actually depicted or implicitly consummated, plus some homosexual jokes; no physical nudity, except for some naturalistic upper male nudity, bullies put clearly fake rubber breasts on people, girl models bikini swimwear while boyfriend smiles in enjoyment, and female cheerleaders in high school wear sexy outfits as they dance; underage drinking implied; smoking and medication makes teenager woozy; and, deception, bad parenting, bullying, tattoos, and piercings.
Sometimes amusing and even heartwarming, THE NEW GUY tells the story of a high school nerd who moves to another high school and exchanges his identity so that he can become popular. Despite its positive aspects, THE NEW GUY is a teen comedy that still contains too many crude, offensive elements to be palatable for parents who want their teenagers to live a moral lifestyle.
THE NEW GUY is a silly, mildly amusing teen comedy. Although it has some THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY sexual gags, its heart is softer. This creates a slightly more positive tone than such a comedy might otherwise achieve.
In the story, D.J. Squalls plays nerdy high school student Dizzy Harrison. Dizzy loves soul music and funk, so he creates his own garage band with three other geeky teenagers. The bullies at their high school, however, pull all sorts of mean pranks on them. When even a teacher physically abuses and embarrasses Dizzy at school, the school psychologist and Dizzy’s father thinks Dizzy needs medication. The medication results in Dizzy being put in jail for a few days.
In jail, Dizzy meets Luther, a black convict who teaches Dizzy a bizarre way of moving to another high school and exchanging his wimpy identity to become the Toughest Man on Campus. For the most part, the plan seems to work beautifully, until Dizzy, who’s changed his name to Gil Harris, encounters one of the football jocks from his previous high school who used to bully him.
Squalls does a good job of depicting Dizzy’s trials, tribulations and triumphs. Eddie Griffin does a very funny job as the crazy convict, Luther. The rest of the cast provides decent support.
Regrettably, there are some portrayals of teenage sexuality in THE NEW GUY, along with some foul language, drug references and crude jokes about body parts. The middle part of the movie, however, shows Dizzy becoming a positive influence on the other youth. For example, he ends the discrimination against the nerds at his new high school, he helps restore the school spirit among the teenagers, and he puts the other bullies in their place. Eventually, he even reveals the truth about his identity, although it’s clear that, through his experiences, Dizzy has remolded himself into a more competent, more caring individual. Thus, a primary message of the movie seems to be that, while being a mean bully is not a good thing, it’s also not a good thing to withdraw into yourself and become a nerdy person who can’t relate to other people in a positive manner.
Despite the positive aspects to this movie, parents probably will not want to expose their teenagers to THE NEW GUY, especially teens 16 years or younger. The movie also has some problems quality wise. The filmmakers could have abandoned the sleazier aspects of their idea and concentrated on the more wholesome parts of their story. In doing so, they could have tried to re-create the good-natured comedy of something like TV’s HAPPY DAYS (remember Fonzie trying to teach Richie Cunningham how to be cool?), without offending the innocence and intelligence of their targeted audience.
In THE NEW GUY, a teen comedy, the high school bullies pull all sorts of mean pranks on nerdy student Dizzy Harrison. When even a teacher physically abuses and embarrasses Dizzy at school, Dizzy decides he needs to change high schools. With help from a black prison convict, Dizzy moves to another high school and exchanges his wimpy identity to become the Toughest Man on Campus. The plan seems to work until Dizzy encounters one of the football jocks from his previous high school who used to bully him.
Regrettably, there are portrayals of teenage sexuality in THE NEW GUY, along with foul language, drug references and crude jokes about body parts. The middle part of the movie, however, shows Dizzy becoming a positive influence on the other youth. For example, he helps restore the school spirit among the teenagers. Despite the positive aspects to this movie, parents probably will not want to expose their teenagers to THE NEW GUY, especially teens who are 16 years or younger. The movie also has some quality problems. It fails to fully capitalize on the emotional highs and climactic parts of its positive moral and aesthetic qualities.