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Film / The New Guy

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The New Guy is a 2002 comedy film directed by Ed Decter, starring DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel, and Eddie Griffin.

"Dizzy" Gillespie Harrison (Qualls) is starting his senior year at Rocky Creek High School, a place where he and his bandmates are tormented by the other, cooler students.

On the first day of the new year, he's horribly humiliated in front of the entire student body and placed on drugs for Tourette's despite not having it. High on his new pills, he gatecrashes a gospel choir and is locked up to sleep it off. While in prison, he meets Luther (Griffin), who teaches him how to bust out of his old high school and re-invent himself.

Dizzy — now Gil Harris — moves on to East Highland High, where he rapidly becomes popular and a mascot for the suddenly-resurgent football team.

This film provides examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Courtney is a classic example: blonde, cheerleader, popular, rich enough to get Tony Hawk to come to a random party, and admits that while she ignored the nerds that she would intentionally tease them with her body.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After the first football game.
    Principal Undine: "It's a bill, for manure cleanup, resodding the football field, and to top it all off, somebody urinated into Mrs Campanella's rose garden!" Leads directly to...
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving:
    Principal Undine:"And do you wanna know what else? It was all Worth It!"
  • Bait-and-Switch: During the finale, it seems like Diz's bandmate, Nora, is about to confess her love to him - instead, she ardently kisses Glen, to the surprise of Diz, Kirk, and Glen himself.
  • Big Bad: Connor, the head bully of Dizzy's new school. He later forms a Big Bad Duumvirate with Barclay, the bully from Dizzy's last school.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Luther and the guards at the end.
  • Big Good: Luther see's himself as this.
    Behind every so-called hero there's a little pissed off dude who don't get NO CREDIT!
  • Blatant Lies: Quite a few of Gil's claims fall into this category
  • The Cameo: The movie is filled with them, especially from musicians
    Tony Hawk, Jai Rodriguez, Vanilla Ice, David Hasselhoff, Tommy Lee, Kool Mo Dee, Henry Rollins, John Todd, Jermaine Dupri, Kyle Gass, and Gene Simmons all make appearances.
  • Cardboard Prison: Dizzy is able to come in freely and mingle with the cons to get training. Luther and the guards just appear at Homecoming.
  • Casting Gag: Gene Simmons's cameo as an abstinence-preaching Reverend.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Barclay, the bully at Gil's first school who shows up to blow his cover later.
  • Class Princess: Danielle is the cheer captain and has her own Girl Posse, but is a lower class girl who is genuinely nice to everyone who isn't a Jerkass, used to be a nerd, and regrets not staying in touch with her old friends.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dizzy/Gil. Certainly Luther's "training" doesn't account for all of Gil's badassness.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Exploited, as Luther arranges for Dizzy to arrive at his new school trussed up like Hannibal Lecter, giving him an air of mystery.
  • Darkest Hour: After suffering a public Groin Attack and being misdiagnosed with Tourette's, Dizzy is locked up for interrupting a gospel choir.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Danielle. While her friends are squeeing about Gil's time in prison, she offers, "Forgive my friends. They get shy around strangers."
    • Nora. When Kirk and Glen try to play up their involvement with with Gil in prison her interjection is, "Mostly in the shower."
  • Despair Event Horizon: Drives Dizzy to become Gil.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Dizzy performs all sorts of stunts to get himself expelled including assault and pulling a fire alarm. He gets expelled when he breaks a broom.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Danielle. She has similar rejections of the status quo and reconnects with her "uncool" past like Gil. And her end of movie exposition explicitly explains her as Dizzy/Gil's counterpart writ female.
  • Dumb Blonde: Courtney is the only blonde of the Girl Posse and is arguably the ditziest of the three.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Luther. Teaching Dizzy to do Crazy Eyes, letting fellow prisoners teach him to fight and dance, "motivating" him to climb a rope by setting the rope on fire...
  • Fanservice: The swimsuit scene is a deliberate case as it has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. It's actually explained this way in-universe as Luther stops telling the story, apologizes and says he's been in prison for a long time.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: After all the shenanigans Dizzy gets up to in his quest to be expelled (including blatant cheating on a test, bribing a teacher and stealing a video camera to film the school principal on the toilet), the one act that actually works is... breaking a mop.
  • Gang Initiation Fight: The protagonist has to be beat up someone both in prison and in his new school in order to gain respect.
  • Genius Bonus: Luther says that some people are born with the knowledge (of being a badass), and Diz suggests that Barclay (a bully from his old school) was born that way. Well, Bishop George Berkeley (pronounced "Barclay"), an Irish philosopher, was renowned for his belief that inborn knowledge did not exist (the so-called "tabula rasa" or "blank slate") and that understanding developed based upon phenomenological experience.
  • Girl Posse: The three main cheerleaders - Danielle, Michelle and Courtney.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Courtney with Kirk, near the end, albeit in a somewhat vapid way.
  • Going Commando: When Danielle tells Carmen that her cheering movements are too "pole dancing" and could encourage someone to shove dollar bills down her panties, she asks "what panties?"
  • Groin Attack:
    • The final straw that pushes Dizzy over the edge.
    • The whole point of the "Tiger Claw" attack.
  • Harmless Villain: Connor when you get down to it. A lot of his insults are directed towards a dwarf teenager. He does virtually nothing to affect the plot, until near the end of the movie. And he gets knocked out by Dizzy three times, in the same scene.
  • Here We Go Again!: Turns out that the whole film, being narrated by Luther, is a "success story" of how his method works which he's telling to David Hasselhoff.
  • Humiliation Conga: Dizzy suffers several of these - one before the movie even starts. The two bullies get their own brief one at the hands of Luther and the guards at Homecoming.
  • In with the In Crowd: Gil's friends are very unhappy when he pretends not to know them at a store at one point although unusually for this trope Gil isn't turning his back on them fully and in fact shows up a bit later having gotten them a gig as a band (although they're not quite ready to forgive him yet).
  • Intoxication Ensues: Dizzy, when he overdoses on his Tourette's medication.
  • Jerk Jock: Barclay and Conner. They team up at the end, united by their hatred of the protagonist.
  • Misery Poker: Luther's statement under Prison Rape leads to this.
    Luther: I've seen terrible things...
    Dizzy: Yesterday, an 80-year-old librarian broke my penis.
    Luther: win.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Danielle. Especially with the swimsuit scene and the whole "wearing a bandanna as a shirt" thing.
  • Pair the Spares: Courtney and Kirk, Glen and Nora.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: Danielle
  • Popularity Food Chain: An unusual visual example with The Tower - cool kids at the top, geeks at the bottom, everyone else in between in order of coolness.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: The Funk Master.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: The prison yard is filled with gym equipment.
  • Prison Rape: Referred to by Luther.
    Luther: "High school's a lot like prison. Bad food, high fences. The sex you want, you ain't gettin'. The sex you're gettin', you don't want."
  • Riding into the Sunset: Played for Laughs during the Dizzy and Danielle are on the team's mascot horse and begin to ride into the sunset to dramatic music when the horse dumps Danielle off.
  • Refuge in Audacity: How Gil inspires the football team.
  • School Idol: Gil becomes this, leading the resurgent East Highland football team to victory.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Danielle revealed that she was flat as a kid. She used to be called "Dan the Man". After hitting puberty, she became "Danielle the Body".
  • Shout-Out: Many. Notable ones to Animal House and Braveheart. In order to impress the kids of his new school, Luther pulls a few favors with the guards and Gil is delivered on his first day restrained like Garland Greene.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Glen has a bad habit of doing these.
    Glen: Diz, you have to do her. And while you're with her, think of me. Okay, that sounded gay.
  • Training Montage: In the prison, transforming Dizzy into Gil.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The main story is told through the eyes of Luther, a convict who is quite possibly insane.