The New Guy

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The New Guy
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ed Decter
Produced by
Written by David Kendall
Music by Ralph Sall
CinematographyMichael D. O'Shea
Edited by David Rennie
Columbia Pictures
Revolution Studios
Frontier Pictures (uncredited)
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • May 10, 2002 (2002-05-10)
Running time
88 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million
Box office$31,167,388

The New Guy is a 2002 American teen comedy film directed by Ed Decter, written by David Kendall and starring DJ Qualls and Eliza Dushku.


The film tells the story of high school loser Dizzy Harrison (Qualls) who gets himself expelled so that he can move schools and reinvent himself. [2] Learning how to be cool from a prison inmate, he renames himself Gil Harris and is quick to make new friends and soon gains respect from jocks and geeks alike. He begins dating popular girl Danielle (Dushku) and unites a once-divided school, also greatly improving its football team. Eventually, Gil has to face his demons from his old school when they face each other in a football game. The film received generally negative reviews, but was a modest box office success.


The film begins with prison inmate Luther speaking directly to the camera to an unseen individual, telling the story of Dizzy Gillespie Harrison, an 18-year-old nerdy high school senior in Austin, Texas. Dizzy is friends with Nora, Kirk, and Glen, [3] who together started a funk rock band called "Suburban Funk" and are addicted to video games. They attend Rocky Creek High School, where Dizzy is picked on by everyone, especially star football player Barclay. After Tina Osgood touches his arm, causing him to have an erection and embarrassing him as the jocks belittle him, [3] [4] his briefs were yanked from underneath his pants and placed around his head. [3] The school librarian "breaks" his penis after Dizzy refuses to "hand" over the "weapon" to her. [2] [4] Dizzy is misdiagnosed with Tourette's syndrome; he is then placed on medication by the school counselor who advises his father to spend every moment possible with him. While at the mall's food court, the heavily-medicated Dizzy makes a fool of himself at a church revival and gets arrested. [2]

In jail, Dizzy meets Luther, who turns out to be a sympathetic ex-victim who makes it his goal to teach him how to be cool. [3] In an attempt to wipe the slate clean, Dizzy gets himself expelled from his old high school, then undergoes a makeover with the help of the prison inmates and guards. [2] Changing his name to "Gil Harris", he enrolls at East Highland High and makes an impression by being dropped off in a prison van in restraints and beating up the school bully, Connor. [2]

The action has the intended effect, and head cheerleader Danielle welcomes the newcomer to school. [3] Her friend Courtney invites Dizzy to a party and through a mishap, Dizzy gives Courtney the impression that he has blown her off. Using a photo given to him by the prison inmates and help from his old friends, Dizzy manages to escape the party with his reputation intact. Upon returning home, however, he finds his father has agreed to sell his house and quit work to supervise him, which results in the pair living in a trailer.

Danielle asks Dizzy to encourage the school to go to see the football team play, Dizzy, referencing General Patton and Braveheart, gives an impassioned speech, inspiring the team to win their first game in years. He is soon enlisted by the coach and principal to plan the school's homecoming dance, and becomes imbued with school spirit, shedding his bad boy image. Danielle breaks up with Connor and starts a relationship with Dizzy.

However, Dizzy and Gil are fast becoming too big for one body. When Nora berates Dizzy for becoming the same person he once hated, he uses his newfound popularity to confront Connor. Dizzy and Danielle spur the students to reunite, and the lines dividing the different cliques are broken. With a new philosophy, the school football team wins more games and bullying becomes a thing of the past. [2] Reaching the state championship, where they play Rocky Creek, Dizzy's antics on the sideline cost Rocky Creek the game. After Rocky Creek's lost to East Highland, Barclay slowly starts realizing who Gil really is. East Highland High celebrates their victory. At school the next day, while East Highland still celebrates, Barclay confronts and attempts to fight Dizzy, but before he can do anything he is attacked by the entire student body. After the attack, Connor helps up Barclay from the ground, telling him he wants to know what he knows about Dizzy.

The homecoming dance, which Dizzy's funk band is supposed to play, is crashed by the students of Rocky Creek. Barclay and Connor, who have joined forces to set a trap for Dizzy, play an embarrassing video of the librarian incident. However, Luther and the other inmates arrive to save Dizzy, tying up the two bullies. Nora admits longstanding feelings for Glen, and Danielle reveals to Dizzy that she was also a nerd growing up. She forgives him for hiding who he was and they kiss.

Luther ends the film, and the man he is talking to is revealed to be David Hasselhoff. In a mid-credits scene, Dizzy and Danielle mount a horse and ride off into the sunset together.


Cameo appearances


The film was shot in Austin [5] and around Austin (San Marcos, Elgin, and Del Valle) utilized Texas State University, Driskell Hotel, and an FYE at Lakeline Mall between October 23, 2000 to January 12, 2001. [6]

Unrated version

In the 92-minute unrated cut, Dizzy appears to be a "child of divorce." [7] He once had a mother named Beth Anne but she left the family while Dizzy was doing his "godfather of soul" routine. [7] Miss Kiki Pierce talks about Dizzy's excessive masturbation and becomes his stepmother in the uncensored version (unlike the PG-13 version). [7]

According to the storyline in the uncensored version, Gil Harris had apparently murdered a guy in Rhode Island before being sent off to prison while no back story was made for the name in the theatrical version. [7]


Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 7% based on 99 reviews, with an average rating of 3.30/10. The consensus reads: "Incoherent, silly, and unoriginal, The New Guy offers up the same old teen gross-out comedy cliches." [8] On Metacritic, the film has a 24% rating, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews" based on reviews from 23 critics. [9]

The film grossed $31,167,388 worldwide [10] against a $13 million production budget. [11]


  1. "The New Guy" by Mystikal
  2. "I'm Just a Kid" by Simple Plan
  3. "You Really Got Me" by Eve 6
  4. "Keep the Party Goin'" by Juvenile
  5. "So Fresh, So Clean" by OutKast
  6. "Outsider" by Green Day
  7. "Uh Huh" by B2K
  8. "So Dizzy" by Rehab
  9. "Breakout" by OPM
  10. "Dark Side" by Wheatus
  11. "I Love You" by Nine Days
  12. "Heart in Hand" by Vertical Horizon
  13. "Hi-Lo" by JT Money
  14. "Let It Whip" by SR-71

Songs that were featured in the film but do not appear on the soundtrack include:

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  1. "THE NEW GUY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification . April 4, 2002. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Basic summary". Reeling Reviews. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Advanced summary". Screen It!. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  4. 1 2 "The erection scene of The New Guy". Mahalo. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2012-04-02.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Unrated version of The New Guy". Movie Censorship. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  8. The New Guy at Rotten Tomatoes Fandango
  9. The New Guy at Metacritic CBS
  10. Elvis Mitchell (2002-05-10). "FILM REVIEW; The New Kid Struggles to Make a Bad Impression". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  11. The New Guy at Box Office Mojo