Case Number 03781: Small Claims Court


Sony // 2000 // 92 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 6th, 2004

The Charge

A zero will rise.

The Case

Meet Dizzy Harrison (DJ Qualls, The Core, Road Trip), grade-A mega dork and all-around nerd. Dizzy's life at his high school has been nothing short of torturous -- everyone makes fun of him except for his three band mates: sarcastic Nora (Zooey Deschanel, Elf), the hefty Kirk (Jerod Mixon, House Party 4: Down to the Last Minute), and Glen (Parry Shen, Better Luck Tomorrow), who may or may not be gay. Even Dizzy's dad (crooner Lyle Lovett, looking eerily like Qualls) is a real weenie. When Dizzy is humiliated in front of the entire school after a librarian breaks a part of his anatomy that would make grown men cry, Diz finally realizes he needs a change...and quick. While attempting to get expelled from his high school, Dizzy is thrown into the local prison (how, I'm still not sure, but more on that later). There he meets Luther (Eddie Griffin, Undercover Brother), a tough talking convict who can show Diz the way to being cool. Under Luther's guidance, Dizzy quickly becomes a lean (very lean), mean fighting machine. He changes his name and schools and, after laying waste to the local jock and winning the affections of the cheerleaders (including Eliza Dushku, Wrong Turn), becomes the most popular guy in his class. Yet Dizzy (now known as Gil Harris) finds out that being in the "in crowd" isn't all its cracked up to be, especially when his geeky past threatens to rear its ugly head.

The sole reason to see The New Guy is for DJ Qualls' goofy, likable charm. Otherwise, when push comes to shove this is just another assembly line teen comedy that includes the requisite sex gags, potty humor, and lots of babes you'll never be able to date. Did I laugh during The New Guy? Yes, a few times, but not enough to make up for all the passages where I sat fairly bored while shenanigans from previous films flickered by. There isn't one moment where I was surprised by anything that happens. The teenage comedy arc is fully intact: geek is a geek, geek becomes popular, geek faces insurmountable odds, geek triumphs. If you don't see this coming a mile away then it's time you visited the 1980s for a few days. In one scene, Dizzy/Gil carries a video camera into the men's washroom to show the school's principal struggling with a nasty bout of diarrhea. In another his father (played with straight-faced boredom by Lyle Lovett) gets a flaming marshmallow flung into his eye -- ho-ho. Obviously, these are the bits that substitute for humor. The makers of The New Guy -- directed by Ed Decter, who also co-wrote There's Something About Mary -- don't understand that pee-pee ca-ca humor isn't very funny without some kind of reasoning behind it. In other words, a hot marshmallow to the eye socket isn't funny by just its own merits alone. Then again, I shouldn't be overly disappointed since that's what's been passing for humor these past few years. Oddly enough, fans thinking they're getting more with this "director's cut" of the film be sorely disappointed -- instead of the film including more scenes, it appears that it's run time has been shortened (though there are a few new scenes). This is my first time seeing the film, so maybe there were more poop gags than the director deemed necessary this first time around? Either way there are dozens of other better teen comedies. Mmy recommendation is to see where it all begin with the trifecta Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club. The New Guy: Director's Cut is only worthwhile for hardcore DJ Qualls fans only.

The New Guy: Director's Cut is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Columbia has done a decent job on this transfer except for one glaring detail: there are way too many jump cuts! Most likely from the director's re-edit, The New Guy features a ton of jumps that are glaringly obvious. Aside of that problem, this transfer features mostly solid colors and black levels with minimum imperfections (though a small amount of dirt and grain shows up in the image). This is not a great transfer, but not too bad either. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. For a little teen comedy, this track isn't half bad -- there are multiple instances where directional effects and surround sounds come into play, often with composer Ralph Sall's music score. Also included on this disc are English and French subtitles.

The New Guy features a commentary track by director Ed Dector, actors DJ Qualls and Elisa Dushku, and writer David Kendall. If nothing else this track is chatty with lots of discussion about the shoot and the casting of the film. Interestingly, Qualls has a thick southern accent that he's able to hide during the feature film. Dector also explains some of the deletions and additions to this "director's cut" of the film. Also included on this disc is a music video for the song "I'm Just A Kid" by the group Simple Plan, as well as theatrical trailers for the films The New Guy, Mr. Deeds, The Animal, Not Another Teen Movie, and Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights.

Review content copyright © 2004 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 67

Perp Profile
Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English
* French

Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary Track by Director Ed Dector, Actors DJ Qualls and Elisa Dushku, and Writer David Kendall
* Theatrical Trailers
* Music Video

* IMDb