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The New Guy (2002)

A nobody reinvents himself as a hero

Starring:

DJ Qualls

Eddie Griffin

Eliza DushkuEliza Dushku

Lyle Lovett.

Zooey Deschanel

Directed by:

Ed Decter

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 85 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

DJ Qualls plays Dizzy Harrison, a high school geek regularly picked on by the 'cooler' kids. After a chance encounter with a prison inmate (Eddie Griffin) who gives him advice, Dizzy decides to make a new identity for himself. He purposefully sets out to get himself expelled from his high school, so that he can start again at a new one, where he plans to apply some rather dubious techniques for being cool which he has learned from his prison friends.

His new school is rougher than his old one, however he makes an entrance designed to impress. With a new name, 'Gil Harris', and his newly-learned confidence he soon takes charge of his new life. It is not long before he has a following of admirers and is attracting the affections of the head cheerleader Danielle (Eliza Dushku). Saving the school's dire football team makes him a hero, and when he stands up for the school misfits he dramatically changes the culture of the school. Ultimately, however, he is lying about who he is and the truth is increasingly hard to hide.

While there's nothing really new here, the leads make the most of the fairly lightweight script and manage to be unexpectedly funny. DJ Qualls is particularly amusing in his 'cool' persona, making Gil a quirky and somewhat crazy hero rather than a paragon. The characters are likeable, if superficial, and their antics are surprisingly entertaining. There's a sense that the movie is really poking fun at other teen comedies, rather than taking itself too seriously, which works in its favour.

Features cameo appearances by Gene Simmons, Tommy Lee, Tony Hawk, Kool Moe Dee, Jermaine Dupri, Vanilla Ice, David Hasselhoff and others.

It's Got: A fair number of laughs.

It Needs: To make more of Eliza Dushku’s character.

DVD Extras Few extras. Music Video: ‘I’m Just a Kid’ by Simple Plan. Other Extras: Trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Alternatives:

Bring It On, The Breakfast Club

Summary

It’s far from being great cinema, but as entertainment it does raise some laughs and succeeds well enough to be worth watching.

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