I was just watching this abhorrent clip from My Best Friend’s Girl, Lindsay’s favorite movie, and you know the rules: if I have to suffer, you have to suffer. Includes some NSFW language, and is also NSF Not Barfing.
In My Best Friend’s Girl, which comes out in September, Dane plays an “asshole for hire,” who is hired by guys to take their exes out on horrible dates, so that when the girl realizes what superpigs men are they’ll go back to the pig they dumped. Wasn’t that basically the plot of Good Luck Chuck? Lindsay? Lindsay, wasn’t that the plot of your second favorite movie after this movie?
We’re five movies into Dane Cook’s acting career: Mr. Brooks, Employee of the Month, Dan in Real Life, Good Luck Chuck, and now My Best Friend’s Girl, and I think we can confidently declare a new phase in the Dane Cook backlash.
Look, Dane Cook is reviled, we all know that. He surprised the world in 2005 when Retaliation went double-platinum and immediately drew criticism for his loud, farty, gesticulating non-jokes. Not to mention the whole joke stealing thing. He appealed to an Abercrombie and Fitch crowd of Natty Ice loving fratboys, which couldn’t possibly go over well in the bedraggled world of comedy, which is usually reserved for the social outcast, the discomfited nerd who uses words as a shield/weapon. Not to mention the whole JOKE STEALING THING. But during this phase of anti-Cook backlash, Cook’s defenders could always claim that the haters were just jealous, and the fact of the matter is that played an important role. The guy was making tons of money in an industry where very few succeed, and he was making it on the sheer force of his personality. It was a big fuck you to anyone who thought jokes should actually be funny and well imagined, not just some loose anecdote that you put a dull shine on after a few Jaegerbombs. But even if it was a fuck you, the guy had figured something out. He was a genuine success. His fans existed. They really did love him. He had, for better or for worse, kind of earned it. This is basically the 2000 election.
When he started making movies, the backlash entered a new phase, although it was mostly a variation on the first. People who loved him still mostly loved him, and the people who hated him still totally hated him. But now they had new evidence against his “talents.” The movies seemed to be systematically horrible, and due in no small part to Cook’s participation. There was a collective sense of “look, see!” even if that collective sense came up against a blank wall of indifference on the part of Cook’s fans. He had built up the kind of blind faith that truly famous performers enjoy. This is basically 2000-2003.
That started to change with the introduction of Cook’s HBO show, Dane Cook’s Tourgasm. It was one of the worst things that has ever been on television, and more importantly it was directed and produced by Cook. A complete vision. Tourgasm was Dane Cook’s Katrina. Oh, there were plenty of fans who would make excuses for him, who would try to ignore the show as a rare miss, but more and more people were starting to realize that Dane Cook was wrong for America.
As his movies began to arrive in theaters, each one worse than the last, Dane’s approval rating began to wane. Employee of the Month was Dane Cook’s “Mission Accomplished.” Mr. Brooks was his “heckuva job, Brownie.” We’re not quite at 2008 George W. Bush in our metaphor, but Dane Cook is definitely at 2006 levels of distrust and raw nerve anger. He’s dangerous! He is ruining everything! We are looking forward to a day when he’s just gone! This metaphor is flawless! Seriously, though, America, we need a new superfamous comedian to return honor and dignity to fart jokes. I nominate Louis C.K. Just imagine! What a comeback story! His jokes are stolen by Cook and then years later he beats Cook in a landslide at the Comedy Elections, which are a real thing that happen. Let me just ask you this, are you laughing harder now than you were four years ago?