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By Steve Anderson | May 3, 2006

It is the statement that just about every guy has heard or expressed in one fashion or another upon hearing of another guy’s upcoming nuptuals.

“He’s not DEAD…just getting married!”

To which has followed the same morose _expression, if not quite the same line:

“What’s the difference?”

Pretty much every guy knows what this feels like. This is a guy sensitivity on par with enjoyment of the Three Stooges and irritation at the concept of domestic standards.

Most of us have known at one time or another an old buddy who planned to get…God help him…married. The end of an era, it is! The loss of a drinking buddy! The fall of a good wingman! And what shows up in his place? A guy who can RATIONALIZE not getting laid with any kind of regularity.

Where is the guy who you could throw up with? He’s off looking at CHINA PATTERNS with the fiancee!

Where is the guy who could be counted on to distract what GameBusters refers to now as the “Mother Hen,” that chick who won’t stop horning in on every conversation out of some misguided fear that every guy around her is a rapist in the making (or maybe just a note of misandry)? Oh, he’s off trying on TUXES.

It’s a sad day, hearing that your buddy is getting married, and nowhere is this sorrow shown with any more heart-wrenching clarity than in “Guys.”

Basically, I’ve told you the plot. Three guys, one already married to one of the most domineering women I’ve seen since Kathy Bates hobbled James Caan in “Misery”, are treating the news of their fourth’s upcoming nuptuals with something less than well-wishes. And so, they take him out for a small party to congratulate him, one last night out with him before the fiancee swallows him whole.

Now, I’d love to join the apparent crowd of critics (if you buy the back of the box) who say this is a cult hit in the making on par with “Swingers” and “Clerks.” But frankly, I can’t. Not to say that “Guys” isn’t a good movie–this WILL ring an unexpected chord of sympathy within at least eighty percent of its audience.

But it tries far, far too hard to be the next “Clerks.” Chicks, weed, porn, the town idiot who works at a video store (okay, it’s an ADULT video store, but still), the town pothead who’s constantly lunging after said chicks (but doing a far better job of bagging them than Jay ever did)…there are so many common elements that one can’t HELP but make comparisons to “Clerks”, and it’s plain that this is no coincidence.

“Guys” does manage to show damned well the feelings of those “left behind”, those guy friends who realize that, with a married friend at their side, nothing will ever be the same between them.

In fact, this is one for the ladies to get their hands on–this is what your guy is feeling right now, and though his entire genetic makeup forbids him from telling you about it, this is pretty much it. Marriage, to those left behind, is almost like death, because you’re NEVER gonna see that friend again. And if you ARE fortunate enough to see him again, it will never be as it once was.

The day you’ve dreamed about since you were a little girl is killing some guy friend out there.

Think about THAT when you’re going Bridezilla over the color of the floral arrangements.

But where “Guys” fails is in its resolution. This is a good show of what the guy friends left behind are feeling…but we don’t get to know what goes on afterward. Are their fears founded, or are they overreacting? It’s only thirty-six minutes–it’s not too big a leap to say they could’ve gone to an hour, shot the wedding and reception, and then seen whether they managed to keep their friendship solvent in the midst of wedded bliss. But all we get to see is that last night out, which leaves more questions than answers.

“Guys” is an excellent treatise into the mind of the less-than-fairer sex, one that should be enlightening for those who see it. And though it only gives us a limited picture, it’s still a picture worth seeing.

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