Movie Buzz: Is Dane Cook Box Office Poison?

Claire Folger

Metro Spirit | September 15, 2008
Actor-comedian Dane Cook is dangerously close to being regarded as box office poison. After big time flops with Jessica's Simpson and Alba in Employee of the Month and Good Luck Chuck, Cook is giving the low-concept romantic comedy another try in My Best Friend's Girl.

The star now tasked with compensating for Cook's lack of acting talent is Kate Hudson. The actress, who wowed critics in 2001's Almost Famous has graced only silly comedies and chick flicks since. Jason Biggs, the film's third wheel, has also been absent from the critical spotlight since his American Pie days.

Always the awkward guy aiming for ladies way out of his league, Biggs recruits his best pal (Cook) to date the girl who just broke up with him in the hope that the friend's over-the-top jerky behavior will have the poor girl running back into Biggs' scrawny arms. The plan may not work out though, because some girls really dig idiotic guys.

In addition to a lackluster script and the film's trio of under-achieving actors, the movie has a third strike against it: director Howard Deutch hasn't helmed anything worth watching since the 1986 romantic teen comedy Pretty in Pink.

Ricky Gervais sees dead people. The talented writer, director, and star of the original British version of the hit TV comedy The Office plays a rude dentist who begins seeing ghosts after his own seven minute departure from the world of the living in Ghost Town.

A particularly demanding ghost, played by Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine), encourages Gervais to meddle in the affairs of his widow in an attempt to discourage her from going through with her impending marriage. Tea Leoni (Spanglish) plays the disapproving ghost's widow.

Director Neil LaBute, who is to blame for the truly bizarre Nicolas Cage remake of The Wicker Man, is taking another stab at a psychological thriller. Lakeview Terrace pairs the director with Samuel L. Jackson, an actor who does not provide enough stand alone box office draw to produce impressive receipts.

Jackson plays a police officer and over-bearing neighbor who obsesses on harassing an interracial couple who just arrived in his neighborhood. Kerry Washington (Ray) and Broadway veteran Patrick Wilson play the couple tormented by Jackson's ultra-intimidating neighbor-from-hell persona.

Opening in limited release is a Keira Knightley vehicle, which is yet another period piece for the Pride & Prejudice star. Knightley channels Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire, in The Duchess, a film that shows the romantic and personal struggles of a pretty young aristocrat whose self-absorbed cheating husband unwittingly pushes her into the arms of another man.

One new opener aims for a younger audience. Igor is an animated flick that mimics the style of twisted director Tim Burton (Corpse Bride). John Cusack lends his voice to a lab assistant who dreams of being a big shot inventor. The obligatory cast of famous voices also includes Molly Shannon, Steve Buscemi, and John Cleese.
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