Darkness Falls

Jason Lee, Julia Styles, and James Brolin. Directed by Chris Koch.
Running Time: 113 mins
Rated: PG

Paul Morse (Lee) is engaged to be married to Karen (Selma Blair). In the week leading up to their wedding they each have their respective singles' nights. Karen's goes off without a hitch. Paul's starts out harmless enough, but ends up a rather debaucherous affair, as bucks' nights sometimes are. Paul wakes up the next morning with a woman named Becky (Styles) in his bed, and no memory of how he or she got there.

He thinks that in his drunken state he has had a blackout, during which he has cheated on his fiancé. The deception begins when Karen calls at his apartment that same morning and nearly catches Becky there. Paul thinks he is in the clear when he says goodbye to Becky. That night, however, Paul arrives at Karen's house for a pre-nuptial dinner. He gets to meet Karen's extended family who have arrived in town for the wedding and there is Karen's cousin Becky.

A Guy Thing is a mildly amusing, rather than a funny film. The entire premise could be the subject of an entertaining short film, rather than a feature lasting 101 minutes. In the hands of director Chris Koch the story is milked for every gag it can possibly deliver and we are all tired of it by the end.

This film trades on storybook cut-outs: stay-at-home brunette fiancé has to vie with blonde bombshell for the affections of the dippy and perplexed groom.

There are no new or interesting ideas in this sub-standard romantic comedy. It simply reinforces the dreadful idea that grooms go into marriages full of so many doubts that feisty blondes can clarify their minds just days before the wedding ceremony.

For this, and many other reasons, Karen is lucky she saw what an idiot Paul actually is before getting married to him. It's always worse after. Much worse.

Fr Richard Leonard is the director of the Australian Catholic film office.

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