New Guy [2003]

Aimed at teens with numb senses of humor, The New Guy earns its chuckles mostly by accident. Most of the comedy is DOA, although the cast--especially DJ Qualls in the title role--possesses a modicum of scrappy charm. DJ plays a "blip" on his high school's social radar, briefly jailed for chronic misbehavior and mentored in coolness by a fellow inmate (Eddie Griffin), who becomes the funky "new guy" at a new school, where he's worshipped as a mysterious hipster and attracts the hottest cheerleader (Eliza Dushku). Directed without a shred of inspiration (by a cowriter of There's Something About Mary) and looking like a drab 16-millimeter industrial film, the movie would be a waste of time were it not for its abiding cheerfulness, rock-star cameos (Henry Rollins, Gene Simmons, Tommy Lee), Lyle Lovett as DJ's dad, and a fresh cast that almost makes this lowbrow mess worthwhile. --Jeff Shannon

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