Dizzy is an unpopular, high school band geek going through a hellish senior year. In an attempt to make a new identity for himself, Dizzy gets himself expelled from his high school, learns how to be cool from a prison inmate, and enrolls at a new high school under the alias Gil Harris. He is quick to make new friends and soon gains respect from jocks and geeks alike, uniting a once divided school and 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, 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 basically everyone, especially star football player Barclay. This occurs before and after sex symbol Tina Osgood holds his hands, causing him to have an erection and ends up embarrassing himself as the jocks belittle him with no mercy. Dizzy's white briefs were yanked from underneath his pants and placed around his head - revealing the erect penis in plain sight to nearly everyone instead of "covering it." The school librarian would eventually "break" it after Dizzy refuses to "hand" over the "weapon" to her. 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.
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. 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. 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 (a reference to Con Air) and beating up the school bully, Connor.
The action has the intended effect, and head cheerleader Danielle welcomes the newcomer to school. Her friend Courtney invites Dizzy to a party and through a mishap, Dizzy gives Courtney the impression that he has rejected her. 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.
At the football game, Dizzy, referencing General Patton in the film, gives an impassioned speech to the team, who proceed to win their first game. 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.
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 begins to win games and bullying becomes a thing of the past. Reaching the state championship, where they play Rocky Creek, Dizzy's antics on the sideline cost Rocky Creek the game, although Barclay recognizes his old punching bag. At school the next day, he attempts to beat up Dizzy, and is in turn 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 after Danielle reveals that she was also a nerd growing up and forgives him for hiding who he was and they reconcile.
Luther ends the film, and the man he is talking to is revealed to be David Hasselhoff.DJ Qualls as Dizzy Gillespie Harrison/Gil Harris
Eliza Dushku as Danielle
Eddie Griffin as Luther
Zooey Deschanel as Nora
Lyle Lovett as Bear Harrison
Jerod Mixon as Kirk
Parry Shen as Glen
Ameer Baraka as Barclay
Kina Cosper as Estelle
Ross Patterson as Conner Maguire
Geoffrey Lewis as Principal Zaylor
Kurt Fuller as Mr. Undine
Sunny Mabrey as Courtney
Illeana Douglas as Miss Kiki Pierce
Justine Johnston as Mrs. Whitman
Kool Moe Dee
James Brown (archival footage)
In the 92-minute unrated cut, Dizzy appears to be a "child of divorce." He once had a mother named Beth Anne but she left the family while Dizzy was doing his "godfather of soul" routine. Miss Kiki Pierce talks about Dizzy's excessive masturbation and becomes his stepmother in the uncensored version (unlike the PG-13 version).
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.
The New Guy was panned by critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 7% based on 97 reviews with the consensus: "Incoherent, silly, and unoriginal, The New Guy offers up the same old teen gross-out comedy cliches." On Metacritic, the film has a 24% rating, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews" based on reviews from 23 critics. Derek Armstrong of allmovie described it as one of the dumbest and most derivative teen comedies in years and gave the film his lowest star rating.
Despite the poor response, the film was a modest box office success, grossing $31,167,388 worldwide against a $13 million production budget.
- "The New Guy" by Mystikal
- "I'm Just a Kid" by Simple Plan
- "You Really Got Me" by Eve 6
- "Keep the Party Goin'" by Juvenile
- "So Fresh, So Clean" by OutKast
- "Outsider" by Green Day
- "Uh Huh" by B2K
- "So Dizzy" by Rehab
- "Breakout" by OPM
- "Dark Side" by Wheatus
- "I Love You" by Nine Days
- "Heart in Hand" by Vertical Horizon
- "Hi-Lo" by JT Money
- "Let It Whip" by SR-71
Songs that were featured in the film but do not appear on the soundtrack include:"Super Bad" by James Brown
"Action Figure Party" by Action Figure Party
"(Rock) Superstar" by Cypress Hill
"Click Click Boom" by Saliva
"Boléro" by Hungarian State Orchestra
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" by Ennio Morricone
"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
"Also sprach Zarathustra" by Interstellar Force
"Dammit, I Changed Again" by The Offspring
"Bounce" by Glo & Eklips
"She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)" by Carl Carlton
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by St. John's Cathedral Choirs and Festival Orchestra
"Lookin' for Love" by Johnny Lee
"Girl All the Bad Guys Want" by Bowling for Soup
"New Religion Every Day" by American Steel
"Soar" by All Too Much
"The New You" by Laptop
"The Anthem" by Good Charlotte
"Wannabe Gangster* by Wheatus