Four Fools, Rushing In
We've got four old friends who have hung out together for years, scamming women into bed and bragging with each other about it. After some establishing sequences, three of them end up falling in love with the same woman (the other one is married at this point).
Each of these guys is a near-perfect stereotype - the shallow financial guy, the arty intellectual, the slightly-sexually-ambiguous masturbator (granted, not a stereotype that comes up that often), and the married guy who is, well, whipped. Their defining characteristics are fodder for the inevitable exchange of friendly insults at their weekly meetings at the local diner. So, not only are they stereotypes to the audience, they are to each other.
So, this woman, Mia (Amanda Peet), apparently likes them all equally, does not want to decide between them, and basically leaves it up to the guys to do anything about it, as she's not an exclusive gal at this point anyway. As they've always divvied up the women when they went out together, this is the first time our guys have ever been competitive with each other. They predictably become uneasy and eventually hostile toward each other. Our married friend ends up on the outside, finding none of the others hang out with him in case another suiter shows up.
I was struck by the thought of a male "Sex in the City" fairly early on - the four spend a lot of time talking over their exploits over food. But you couldn't really encapsulate the HBO show in a movie because the storylines usually only overlap a little. This movie embodies what "jumping the shark" would mean to that show - seriously threatening the friendship that forms the backbone of the series.
The other difference is that I don't get a lot of depth to these guys. Now, I'm fairly certain that's on purpose, to make fun of and enlighten us on the worst of male attitutes. I just never cared enough about these guys. They verbally h arangue each other beyond believability even before they are at odds with each other. The words are too cruel for sympathy. Guys do this, but I feel the tone is off, not playful enough.
The movie is mainly playing for laughs. There's some good ones, but a lot of straightforward, obvious humor as well. It gets better toward the end, when some character starts coming into it, but it's not enough to make the movie worthwhile. It's a fairly good idea at the core (if you can accept how they fall for the same woman), but it's yet another good idea with only poor-to-fair execution.
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