This Tuesday night a friend and I went to see a press screening of The Good Guy, a sort-of romantic sort-of comedy written and directed by Julio dePietro, coming out in theatres February 19. Starring Alexis Bledel, Scott Porter and Bryan Greenberg, it's the none-too-original story of Beth, a twenty-something girl in Manhattan trying to figure out who to date, with an adorably bro-y She's All That-style subplot about clueless dudes teaching a more clueless dude how to succeed with women and on Wall Street.
(Very) loosely based on the 1915 novel The Good Soldier, most aptly by way of the satisfying if not particularly shocking turning point in which the unreliability of the narrator is revealed, the film doesn't waste much time developing any of the characters or their relationships: each is given a fairly convenient and two-dimensional backstory (Daniel, the soft-spoken new hire at Tommy's Wall Street firm, spent time as an aviation engineer in the army, which doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose beyond furthering the Good Soldier allegory and explaining his ridiculously buff biceps).
Instead, the writing seemed torn between genuinely wide-eyed sentimentality and one-liners that often felt like they hit below the belt, prompting laughter of the shocked variety ("This is Manhattan. The only happy endings are in Chinatown" from one of Beth's friends at a book club meeting, or one of the bros, while chatting up a fly honey at the bar, talking about how he respects bulimia because it shows a willingness to second-guess your decisions and adapt to changing circumstances.
The highlight of the film for me was easily Andrew McCarthy's role as the jaded, heartless forty-something Wall Street boss--coming from the golden age of real romantic comedies (Pretty in Pink), McCarthy seemed in on the joke that this post-millennium drivel has to make up in snark for what it lacks in real emotion.
Click here to watch The Good Guy trailer.