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Two Girls and a Guy (1998) – Movie Review

Two Girls and a Guy movie poster

Written & Directed by: James Toback
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Heather Graham, Natasha Gregson Wagner

My Advice: Wait for MST3K

This proves that even at 84 minutes, a feature film can be too long. The premise is the film’s title, except that the first two characters didn’t know about each other prior to the film’s start, since they were sharing said guy. What starts off looking like a very interesting piece where you get a small number of actors in an enclosed place and let them act their asses off (for proper reference see Closet Land, see Mindwalk) turns into an episode of The Real World. If Toback wants to have really great actors improvising emotional situations, somebody show him Secrets & Lies.

A word about Downey–if the boy could ever get his personal shit together, he’d be the actor of his generation. He’s a Needcoffee favorite but sometimes I just wanna strangle him. Enough of that. When he’s alone (accusing himself in a mirror or talking to his agent) we get a great performance from him. However, once the two women come into the scene it’s over. Then it’s all screaming matches, thrownaway lines, the whole bit.

[ad#longpost]The women are good enough in their roles but as the film progresses, you wonder more and more why they’re there. Character-wise, I mean. Why are they still there? What this film lacks is direction. First it wants to be a comedy, then it wants to be a film delving into the pitfalls of relationships, then it wants to be Wild Orchid, then it becomes a sentimental tearjerker–and just like your reaction to Downey’s character, you don’t buy it for a heartbeat. What could have been maybe a decent one act play or maybe even a short film instead is a vignette stretched thin and goes nowhere, leaving you unsatisfied. I wish I could say watch it for Downey’s sake, but even he can’t save this. Skip it.

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