Writer-director Chris Kentis has dreamed up an ingenious premise, but he botches its execution. Every once in a while, the film stumbles upon a twist that ratchets up the tension, but then haphazardly discards it.
Only when it wraps up all its loose ends with a feel-good sitcom conclusion does it finally reveal itself: It's an interesting failure rendered all the more disappointing for veering so close to success.
Not even amusing cameos from Bill Murray as a freeloading producer and Michael McKean as a proctologist can keep With Friends Like These... from being as minor as the film careers of its two-bit protagonists.
Dash directs with a certain visual flare and a sense of humor, but as the film lumbers toward its climax, keeping track of the innumerable allegiances and double-crosses becomes an exercise in futility.
The 2005 version refashions the material into a dual vehicle for Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, "Saturday Night Live" alums who specialize in lazy, ramshackle comedies that are just okay enough to not completely suck.