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Dustin Putman

Dustin's Review
Two Girls and a Guy (1997)
2 Stars

Directed by James Toback
Cast: Heather Graham, Robert Downey Jr., Natasha Gregson Wagner, Frederique Van Der Wal, Angel David.
1997 – 85 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for profanity and sex).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, 1998.

"Two Girls and a Guy," directed by James Toback (1987's "The Pick-Up Artist"), is a three-character drama that is set entirely in the New York apartment of a struggling actor (Robert Downey Jr.), who comes home from a long trip to find that both of his girlfriends, Carla (Heather Graham) and Lou (Natasha Gregson Wagner), are there and have discovered that they both have been being played by him for the last ten months.

It is very difficult to make films like "Two Girls and Guy," in which there only a few characters and all they do is talk. It can be done (1995's "Before Sunrise"), but more often than not it comes off as being more appropriate as a play than an actual motion picture (1995's "Oleanna"). The successfulness of such a film usually depends on the quality of the dialogue and performances, which is unfortunate since "Two Girls and a Guy" rarely has intelligent and provocative dialogue, and the performances are far from impressive.

One of the main problems with "Two Girls and a Guy" is that it is constantly confused by what type of genre it wants to fall in. Mostly it is a comedy, which is somewhat of a predicament considering the fact that the subject matter is very serious. And then in the end, nothing is really resolved, and the picture makes a sharp u-turn towards melodrama, which isn't touching, but just seems out of place.

Another flaw is in its characters, which are the type of people you are glad you don't know in real life, since they are both unpleasant and downright annoying. Like "Oleanna," which equally grated on your nerves, it seemed like all of the dialogue was shouted at each other to the point of nausea, and I walked away from the movie with a literal headache. After seeing this film, I made a rule that in order to like a movie, it shouldn't be physically painful to watch.

"Two Girls and a Guy" is overdone in almost all senses of the word, and it is very messy. By not liking any of the characters, I didn't care about their problems or the outcome of them. I just wanted them to leave me alone.

© 1998 by Dustin Putman

Dustin Putman