Owen Wilson has lashed out at a New York film critic, for lambasting his movie pal Ben Stiller "tiresome" screen presence and for being the "crudest, version of the urban Jewish male on the make".

NEW YORKER magazine reporter DAVID DENBY wrote a scathing review of Stiller's latest film Meet The Fockers last month (JAN05), saying, "Stiller is not a natural comic. He's not effortlessly funny. There's nothing wrong with the features, but they don't quite go together."

In response to Denby's critique, American gossip site PAGESIX.COM reports Wilson has leapt to the defence of his ZOOLANDER and The Royal Tenenbaums co-star.

Owen writes, "I read David Denby's piece on Ben Stiller with great interest. Not because it was good or fair toward my friend, but exactly because it wasn't.

"I've acted in 237 buddy movies and, with that experience, I've developed an almost preternatural feel for the beats that any good buddy movie must have.

"And maybe the most crucial audience-rewarding beat is where one buddy comes to the aid of the other guy to help defeat a villain. Or bully. Or jerk. Someone the audience can really root against. How could an audience not be dying for a real 'Billy Jack' moment of reckoning for Denby after he dismisses or diminishes or just plain insults practically everything Stiller has ever worked on?

"And not letting it rest there, in true bully fashion Denby moves on to take some shots at the way Ben looks and even his Jewish-ness, describing him as the 'latest, and crudest, version of the urban Jewish male on the make'.

"The audience is practically howling for blood! I really wish I could deliver for them - but that's Jackie Chan's role."

06/02/2005 23:23