Directed by: Julio DiPietro
Cast: Alexis Bledel, Scott Porter, Bryan Greenberg
Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Release Date: March 5, 2010
PLOT: New York archaeologist sweetheart Beth has been going out with stock broker Tommy for a couple of months. Once she meets Tommy’s more sensitive friend Danny, she has to decide who is better for her.
WHO’S IT FOR?: Less for men than it is women, this modern romance is for ladies much like Bledel’s character – those who dream about a guy who reads “Pride and Prejudice” while maintaining the build of a GQ model.
EXPECTATIONS: Didn’t know too much going in. This was going to be a romantic comedy, most likely, but at what quirky cost?
Alexis Bledel as Beth: This former Gilmore Girl has matured since being the daughter/sidekick to her TV show co-star Lauren Graham, even if she is still naïve about the honest functions of the opposite sex. Beth struggles to distance herself from all of the insecure whore-bots that patrol the clubs of NYC, a cause that gains the audience’s support. Reflectively, the film may be about two men wooing her in different stages, but The Good Guy is more about Beth, and whether someone as fragile as her can find a man who shares her interests, and is not just supportive of them. She is the wholesome lamb in jeopardy of becoming jerk steak.
Scott Porter as Tommy: If Tucker Max had gone to Wall Street after business school instead of living in his own ego, he might have resulted in a man very close to the cocky Tommy. This guy brings the social classification “bro” to an Olympic level, especially when the film sympathizes with his weepy voiceover in the beginning. The movie’s attitude towards Tommy shifts throughout its story, but the man has always been insincere despite moments of apparent fellowship around the second act. Points go to Porter for making me hate his character before the film told me to.
Bryan Greenberg as Danny: For much of the film, Greenberg is unrealistically awkward with his shy character, and bellows the cornball romantic lines that would make only suckers swoon. Greenberg tends to force his character’s oddness in a scene and stretches him past the point of believability. It is incredible enough that he is a man formerly in uniform that says “Pride and Prejudice” is his favorite book.
TALKING: The tie-wearing macho men in this movie talk stock as if they’re in a sequel for Boiler Room, so it’s relatively astounding that no one says “Greed is good” when discussing the plethora of money or women they have at their disposal. At times, the two subjects seem to intertwine. The dialogue humor is noticeably cheap (“He’s as much fun as Chlamydia”) and clearly not the film’s strongest aspect.
SIGHTS: This movie was shot on location in New York City, with an apartment that overlooks Wall Street. Oh, and don’t worry about cleaning your Prada glasses, because yes, that spunky blonde is indeed Anna Chlumsky from that morbid 1991 film My Girl.
SOUNDS: A relatively indie soundtrack maintains the gentle pulse of the film’s romantic heartbeat, but nothing sticks out. (I am still looking for the song title of the last tune used in the film’s trailer). Atmosphere and The Hello Sequence make contributions to the collection of songs.
BEST SCENE: When the flashback from the beginning is revisited, it feels goooood.
ENDING: The real hero for men isn’t who we originally think. “Honesty is such an ugly word – everyone is so untrue.”
QUESTIONS: Could this be the self-conscious work of a writer/director who is patting himself on the back for being The Good Guy that this movie exemplifies?
REWATCHABILITY: A second viewing could be a bit stagnant, as there isn’t enough humor to keep the simple entertainment factor high on another look. Still, this would make for a decent date movie (if the date involved something like Digiorno pizza, if you catch my drift.)
Possibly patting himself on the back for being “a good man” (I suppose A Single Man and A Serious Man were already taken,) not-so-funny writer/director Julio DePietro at least shows promise when it comes to controlling how his characters move around, especially in a scenario more often experienced in real life than in the movies: a dating damsel in the distress of love risks being tooled around by the wrong Prince Charming. This is where the similarities end, as the film’s faults lie in the character kinks that don’t resemble reality: one of the dudes may sound more spectacular than the other (it shifts throughout), but they remain equally fraudulent. Tommy “Snidely Whiplash” and Danny Do-Right show the extreme opposite sides of how men interact with women and treat them, but regardless, they are stretched out to be archetypes.
But dry your big beautiful eyes, Alexis Bledels crawling on your knees through the wild world of metropolitan dating. The good men that always seem to be “out of your grasp” or “dating someone else” are indeed non-fictional, though you’d never know something like that from this fairytale.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10