That’s our ‘Dupree!’

“You, Me and Dupree”

Universal Pictures

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

Written by Mike LeSieur

Starring: Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, Matt Dillon and Michael Douglas

Rated PG-13/108 minutes

Opened July 14, 2006

Three out of four stars

Owen Wilson will probably go to his grave with the same shaggy-dog do and broken-nosed, surfer-dude charm-but why mess with a good thing? His movie characters are career slackers out for a fun time as long as they don’t have to work too hard to get it.

He takes that loafing lifestyle about as far as credibility will allow in “You, Me and Dupree,” a pleasant enough comedy that forces Wilson to work harder for laughs than he should have to.

Wilson stars as Dupree, an aimless, jobless romantic who moves in with best bud Carl (Matt Dillon) and Carl’s new wife, Molly (Kate Hudson).

“It’s temporary,” Dupree says. But the giant stuffed moose head he carries in under his arm seems to say otherwise.

Wackiness ensues, as the formula goes. Dupree orders HBO. Dupree has sex in the living room. Dupree burns the living room down. Dupree plugs up the toilet. Dupree uses one of Carl’s socks for something that can’t be printed in a public newspaper. Bad Dupree! Bad!

“I’m the lovable f***-up,” he says to Carl, to which Carl responds, “You’re not that lovable.”

Oh, loosen up, man. Yes, Dupree’s antics are destructive and annoying, but he’s like that cute dog who tracks in mud on his way to lick your face. You can’t hate Dupree because he means well.

But you can’t blame Carl for his churlishness, either. He’s under a lot of pressure from Molly, who wants Dupree thrown out, and his emasculating father-in-law (Michael Douglas), who also happens to be his boss.

I yawn as I write about these obligatory side plots, but perhaps if we didn’t get some relief from Dupree, we would be churlish, too.

Wilson is funnier when he’s allowed to embrace his whimsical side. Here he’s tied to a predictable plot that makes him do idiot things that only idiot movie characters do (after a car hits him on his bike, Dupree turns back to his friends and shouts, “I’m all right!”).

Through all of this, Wilson is a good sport, so we can’t help but smile-even while we recognize the clichs.