Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Good Guy: Movie Review

"The Good Guy" surprises with its drama.

The Good Guy is a relationship drama. You would be forgiven if you assumed it was yet another twenty-something girl trying to sort out her love life and career in a romantic comedy. You would be forgiven for thinking that, but you would also be wrong. It's actually better than that. The film is driven by three characters, all of them completely fleshed-out and three-dimensional. Not one of them is central, but all of them individually and triangularly. 2009

Directed by: Julio DePietro

Screenplay by: Julio DePietro

Starring: Alexis Bledel, Bryan Greenberg and Scott Porter

The literary tones of this film presents everything as a depiction of a culture, and then what happens when one stone comes skipping in causing a ripple to confront that culture – and here’s a nice, little, smart twist: it’s not the whole culture that we’re concerned with or even the ripple, but the just the one, small, smart, interesting stone that caused the ripple.

It begins where it ends: Tommy (Scott Porter) is begging his girlfriend Beth (Alexis Bledel) for money. From there we back-track six months. Tommy is a Wall Street trader working for the fictional Morgan & Morgan. The culture is one where guys are bros who make money, but don’t care how, and bed women, but don’t care who. The one guy who doesn’t fit into that lifestyle is Daniel (Bryan Greenberg), the titular good guy. Daniel likes to read novels and have actual conversations. The guys head out in packs to meet girls. The girls are all the same, they just want to meet hot, rich Wall Street traders, where nothing else matters. Beth is the different one; she wants to actually get to know the guy she’s dating and she likes reading novels. I’m sure you can see where this is headed. Despite the predictability, there are smart, enjoyable turns ahead.

The film continuously surprises in very subtle ways. The characters are better written than first appears, and even when the film tells you the characters will surprise you, it still comes as a surprise.

I was expecting a film about Beth - a very standard, trying to find herself story. What makes it better than that is the fact that it's a drama - I am hard-pressed to name a similar film without comedy undertones or overtones. This is a drama - dark and sombre.

The Good Guy may not be for everybody but it is a good twenty-somethings relationship story told through drama instead of comedy. In the film, Beth complains about a novel that she read where half-way through the narrator turns out to be unreliable. "What's the point of that?" she asks. Daniel responds "Well isn't that life? It surprises you." Indeed it does. The Good Guy may be just like life, dramatic, and it surprises you.