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Buying the Cow
2002 - R - 88 Mins.
Director: Walt Becker
Producer: Dan Etheridge
Written By: Walt Becker
Starring: Jerry O'Connell, Ryan Reynolds, Alysa Milano, Bridgette Wilson
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Pity the former child actor who grows up funny looking and struggles to maintain a career in the entertainment industry outside of reality shows. On the other hand, Jerry O’Connell, best known as the chubby kid from the classic ‘Stand by Me’ has little to blame for his career plight except for some really bad role choices. O’Connell has grown up buff and has no qualms about playing beefcake. I can imagine his agent telling him that he needs to show some skin so that people will stop thinking of him as a child actor or that squeaky clean teen from ‘Sliders.’

‘Buying the Cow’ – not to be confused with O’Connell’s other “bad boy bachelor” comedies ‘Tomcats’ or ‘Bodyshots’ or ‘Joe’s Apartment’ – is a low budget flick about a commitment-fearing young man, David (O’Connell) who must decide whether or not to marry his longtime live-in girlfriend, Sarah (Bridgette Wilson), when she presents him with an ultimatum. While Sarah leaves L.A. for New York to take on a temporary job assignment, David and his buddies try to decide if Sarah is “the one” or not.

One of the reasons why David is reluctant to commit is that he’s tormented by the memory of meeting another woman when he was a teenager. David and his buddies dream about meeting “the one” -- you know when you meet Mrs. Right when you feel a bolt of lightning. Clearly David believes in love at first sight and finding the perfect soul mate because he's pretty sure that the girl from his teen years was "the one." Since he has none of those sparks with Sarah, his memories of this girl from his past convince him to seek other women to find another "one."

‘Buying the Cow’ was written and directed by Walt Becker who went on to direct ‘National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.’ If you play connect-the-dots, you’ll notice that Becker tapped Canadian actor, Ryan Reynolds (‘Blade Trinity’) to star in ‘Van Wilder’ after working with him in ‘Buying the Cow.’ ‘Cow’ was released straight-to-video right after ‘Van Wilder’ though it was shot a year earlier. In fact, it looks like Reynolds was added on to the cover of the DVD as an afterthought to take advantage of the 'Van Wilder' hype.

Reynolds steals the movie as Mike, David’s best friend. While David mopes about choosing the right wife, Mike, as the obnoxious, pick-up-line-spewing serial dater, has a very funny comic turn when he begins to worry that he’s gay. With facial flexibility and raunchy physical comedy that's like an R-rated Jim Carrey, Reynolds demonstrates that his comic snap in ‘Blade Trinity’ was no accident – he’s a hilarious guy. Reynolds makes O'Connell look like a piece of wood.

Overall, ‘Buying the Cow’ is a pleasant enough video rental. It’s got some great gags and it’s obvious in some poorly staged scenes that a more experienced director could have made it a standout comedy. It’s funny in parts, and it’s a fascinating movie where you can watch actors on their way up and down the ladder. Alyssa Milano has a small role as a stripper – you can see how this movie was happily headed into B-moviedom – and a pre-‘X-Files’ Annabeth Gish rounds off the thinly written female characters. Indie-fave Ron Livingston (‘Band of Brothers’) and Bill Belamy (‘Fastlane’) make up the rest of David’s buddies.
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

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