Cash Poor: Julio DePietro's "The Good Guy"

By robbiefreeling | REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog February 17, 2010 at 6:48AM

Whatever suspense Julio DePietro’s The Good Guy seems to think it’s generating is predicated upon the supposedly surprising twist that its central Wall Street wannabe tycoon is not, in fact, a standup guy. Though all of the details of his cretinous behavior come as a slap in the face to the film’s central looking-for-love character, Beth (Alexis Bledel), it’s doubtful they’ll pull the rug out from under any viewer who may have previously seen a film about hotshot traders fast-talking whilst pressing a phone to each ear—or indeed anyone who may have previously seen a film. The bullish dude in question (who’s decidedly not the “good guy” of the title) is Tommy (Scott Porter), whose adorable overbite and gym-toned torso conceal a sexually dissatisfied, little lost boy who underhandedly takes his professional aggression out on women and coworkers.
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Whatever suspense Julio DePietro’s The Good Guy seems to think it’s generating is predicated upon the supposedly surprising twist that its central Wall Street wannabe tycoon is not, in fact, a standup guy. Though all of the details of his cretinous behavior come as a slap in the face to the film’s central looking-for-love character, Beth (Alexis Bledel), it’s doubtful they’ll pull the rug out from under any viewer who may have previously seen a film about hotshot traders fast-talking whilst pressing a phone to each ear—or indeed anyone who may have previously seen a film. The bullish dude in question (who’s decidedly not the “good guy” of the title) is Tommy (Scott Porter), whose adorable overbite and gym-toned torso conceal a sexually dissatisfied, little lost boy who underhandedly takes his professional aggression out on women and coworkers.

Though Tommy’s loutishness is clear from the beginning (thanks, perhaps, to something in Porter’s blank stare, which convincingly reeks of privilege and which, for desperate lack of a better analogy, can be called Mark-Paul Gosselaar-esque), the film devises a pointless flashback structure and a misguided, puzzlingly intermittent voice-over from Tommy to lead us off the scent. First seen sorrowful and seemingly repentant in the rain, begging for understanding from a blase, unmoved Beth, Tommy is at first The Good Guy‘s nominal protagonist. After all, the likeability factor is relative, depending on who’s watching; those who get off on watching cameras whip and rush around investment bankers’ offices while hot-tempered guys bark and cajole each other might find themselves on Tommy’s side, especially when he finds himself dressed down by his swaggering, nut-munching boss, played by an appropriately supercilious Andrew McCarthy, reduced to shouting things like, “Where the fuck is my latte?!” Meanwhile, Beth, a good-hearted urban conservationist (her profession naturally placed in complete contrast to Tommy’s), has doubts, but besides the occasional book club party, also seems to have few interests other than finding the right man to settle down with.

Read the rest of Michael Koresky's review of The Good Guy.