Two Girls and a Guy

Two Girls and a Guy is a 1997 American comedy-drama film written and directed by James Toback and produced by Edward R. Pressman and Chris Hanley. It stars Robert Downey Jr., Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner.

Two Girls and a Guy
Directed byJames Toback
Produced byDaniel Bigel
Chris Hanley
Michael Mailer
Gretchen McGowan
Edward R. Pressman
Written byJames Toback
CinematographyBarry Markowitz
Edited byAlan Oxman
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures
Release date
  • September 9, 1997 (1997-09-09)
Running time
84 min.
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,057,193[1]

The film is mainly based upon dialogue between the characters. It was shot almost entirely in real time, and within a single setting, leading some reviewers to compare the film to a stage play.[2]

Director James Toback told interviewers he wrote the film's screenplay in only four days and shot the film in just eleven days.[3]


Two girls, Carla and Lou meet on the street outside a loft waiting for their boyfriends. After a short time, they find out that they're waiting for the same guy – young actor Blake, who said that he loves both of them but had actually been leading a double life for several months. Angry, they break into his loft and when he returns, a round of accusations and explanations begins.

Film error

The character of Blake is said to be arriving from Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11, which flew from Boston to Los Angeles.[4]




Alongside The Gingerbread Man, the film was Robert Downey Jr.'s first role after a 1996 drug arrest. It has been reported that Downey Jr. was drug-tested on the set every day,[5] and that roles such as this helped him temporarily stay clean before his eventual relapse in September 1997.[6] In an interview with People magazine, Natasha Gregson Wagner implied she accepted the role of Louise (nicknamed Lou in the film) because she wanted to appear in unconventional or controversial pictures, stating that "I like working with bold people who want to make an impact. I’m not interested in being just another pretty face."[7]

Filming and post-production

Principal photography began during early 1997 in New York City.[8] Before filming commenced, Gregson Wagner convinced director James Toback to remove a scene he originally wanted where her character masturbated to Downey Jr. and Heather Graham having sex, as she believed it wasn't realistic.[9]

In order for the film to receive an R-rating rather than an NC-17 rating, the sex scene involving Downey Jr. and Graham had to be toned down and re-edited.[7] Both cuts have since been made available on home media.


Two Girls and a Guy was copyrighted in 1997 and received its premiere at the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival.[10] Originally an independent film, it was picked up by 20th Century Fox's indie acquisition division Fox Searchlight Pictures for a theatrical run in April 1998. It would be released to VHS and DVD in the late 90s and early 2000s by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, and was subsequently released on a Blu-ray by the company in late 2009, which includes both the R-rated and NC-17 versions.[11] The Blu-ray edition includes a commentary track with Downey Jr., Gregson Wagner and Toback that originally appeared on Fox's 2002 DVD release, as well as a 21 minute interview with Toback that was exclusive to the Blu-ray release.[12]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports a positive score of 51% based on 63 reviews, with an average rating of 5.66/10. The site's consensus reads, "Two Girls and a Guy has an intriguing premise and a talented trio of leads, but doesn't do quite enough with any of them to make the end result truly worth a watch".[13] On an April 1998 episode of their program, Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs up.[14] A review in the Los Angeles Times said:

"Two Girls and a Guy" takes a lot of dubious side trips and ends with an event so unexpected it could have come from a different movie. Maybe if Toback had taken 11 days to write the script and four to shoot it, things would have worked out better. As it is, "Two Girls" is a small movie with some big moments and a lot of unfinished business.[3]

In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert commented on Robert Downey Jr.'s performance:

Downey, whatever his problems, is a fine actor, smart and in command of his presence, and he's persuasive here as he defends himself: “I'm an actor. And actors lie.” There is a show-stopping scene when he looks at himself in a mirror and warns himself to get his act together.[15]

On a similar note, The New York Times review said:

When actors fall into tabloid hell, their careers too often are already on the skids. But Downey, who recently completed jail time for drug-related problems, proves again here that he is, professionally speaking, at the height of his powers. "Two Girls and a Guy" bursts into life as soon as this wildly inventive actor saunters into the story bellowing Vivaldi, and from that point on, it hangs on his every word. The two women here, especially the talented and ravishing Ms. Graham, aren't able to do anything of comparable interest.[16]


  1. Two Girls and a Guy at Box Office Mojo
  2. McCarthy, Todd (1997-09-06). "Two Girls and A Guy". Variety. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  3. Mathews, Jack (April 24, 1998). "Two Girls, a Guy and a Lot of Telling Revelations". Los Angeles Times.
  4. "Two Girls and A Guy". IMDb. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  5. May 21, 2014 (2014-05-21). "Robert Downey Jr: The Missing Years - Esquire Middle East". Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  6. "A Look at Downey Jr.'s Downfall - latimes". 1997-12-10. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  7. Jewel, Dan. "Natalie's Girl". People. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  8. Hindes, Andrew (1997-03-02). "In this corner, Mailer helming 'Ringside' – Variety". Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  9. "Mirror of Her Mother / Natasha Gregson Wagner follows in Natalie Wood's footsteps". SFGate. 1998-04-19. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  10. "Toronto Film Festival Offers An Eyeful For Fans, Industry, Press". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  11. "Two Girls and a Guy Blu-ray". Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  12. DVD Review & High Definition. "Two Girls And A Guy - DVD Review & High Definition". Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  13. "Two Girls and a Guy". Rotten Tomatoes.
  14. Ebert, Roger; Siskel, Gene (25 April 1998). He Got Game/The Truce/Two Girls and a Guy/Sliding Doors/Deja Vu. Buena Vista Television.
  15. Ebert, Roger (24 April 1998). "TWO GIRLS AND A GUY". Chicago Sun-Times.
  16. Maslin, Janet (April 24, 1998). "'Two Girls and a Guy': Showpiece for a Wildly Inventive Actor". The New York Times.
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