Lionsgate // 2010 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // July 14th, 2010
Good guys sometime finish first.
The Good Guy comes off as an all-star event for young attractive television stars, a movie that feels like it was executive produced by the CW. Gilmore Girls alumna Alexis Bledel finds herself in a bizarre love triangle, caught between a Wall Street hotshot (Scott Porter, Friday Night Lights) and a shy computer nerd (Bryan Greenberg, One Tree Hill). It sounds pat and formulaic, and it could easily be a bland disaster. Luckily for all involved, the script allows for clever character beats while it delivers a likable romantic comedy that works just fine on DVD. It has a small scope, and doesn't aim to do more than tell you sometimes you have to chose between the flashy guy and the nice one. Interestingly enough the young cast is joined by '80s Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink) who plays the evil jaded fifty year-old boss. Strange to see him here surrounded by the new gang of "teen dreams" out to fill his shoes. There he is passing the torch to Alexis Bledel, or maybe it would be a leg warmer set or something more appropriately '80s.
The story is pretty simple and feels like one you've seen before. Wall Street golden boy Tommy (Porter) is dating Beth (Bledel), but not really giving her much attention. He's trapped in this idea that he and his broker friends have to be lady-killers and workaholics. He works long hours, hangs with the guys, and flirts with other girls constantly. Meanwhile he takes a shy computer nerd Daniel (Greenberg) under his wing, and hires him as a broker on his sales team. Tommy tries to groom him to be like the rest of the group, but things get complicated when Daniel ends up accidentally wooing Beth simply by being sensitive and genuine. The guys in the film are players, and so we root for "the good guy" to come out on top. There's not much original in any of this, but the conversations seem genuine with snappy dialogue that is smart enough to carry it all off.
The DVD is technically just okay and certainly could be better. It feels like it's very compressed with a blown out image that often doesn't do much with colors. The hues look washed out at times, although the black levels seem on point. There are quite a few instances of edge enhancement as well suggesting this is a low bit rate transfer. The five channel audio mix is perfectly serviceable for a dialogue heavy film with some good alternative rock tunes. Extras contain only an audio commentary with writer/director Julio DePietro and lead actress Alexis Bledel. Interestingly enough DePietro reveals he used to be a stock trader in Chicago, and so we begin to understand where he is coming from with this project. He states that he wanted to make the romantic comedy version of American Psycho, but the film is minus the sex, graphic violence, and social satire of that one.
The best thing I can say about The Good Guy is that it has a morally comforting message at its heart. It's out to shatter the illusion that nice guys finish last, and show a world where not every choice comes down to picking the man who makes the most money. Altruism trumps materialism, and that's not too tough to sell these days. Secretly in our hearts we would rather see the computer nerd win out over the trader any day, especially in the economic era the film was made. The Good Guy is a likable romantic comedy that should play well with both guys and girls since it concentrates equally on both. Stocks, bonds, and affairs of the heart mix together with impossibly attractive television stars to make a zippy dramatic comedy. The DVD is fine with the highlight being the commentary.
Guilty of reminding us that being the nice guy is sometimes the best road to
take. You may be poor, but you get the right girl.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R