A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this tepid drama, which has promise but doesn't make good on it, will likely attract teen fans of lead actress Alexis Bledel (of Gilmore Girls fame), but its mature themes are better saved for older teens and adults. There's little nudity, but heaps of swearing and drinking and, worse, many characters who reek of chauvinism. Both men and women, in fact, are stereotyped to a certain degree; most stock traders are portrayed as scheming users and the women, easily fooled and much too preoccupied with being coupled, or bitterly disappointed.
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What's the story?
Beth (Alexis Bledel), appears to have found a good guy. Tommy (Scott Porter), a successful stock broker, is patient and soulful, prone to sweet gestures when she's felled by a hard day. A job transfer from Manhattan to San Francisco beckons, but she's not sure what her next move should be. Her decision is cemented by her burgeoning friendship with Daniel (Bryan Greenberg), a nerdy, bookish protege of Tommy's who can't seem to get in with the masters of the universe at work, but is comfortable among Beth's book-group friends. It's a complication that only becomes obvious when she starts to question who Tommy really is, and what Daniel's true intentions are.
Is it any good?
This movie is certainly ambitious, but as many Manhattanites will attest, ambition will only go so far. There's this about THE GOOD GUY: As writer-director Julio Depietro's debut, it's an assured foray, styled just so and peppered with all the right elements for a film about twentysomething Manhattanites defining themselves at work and in love. The trading pit patois is spot-on, no surprise given Depietro's experience working at an investment firm. Despite this, the film's unexceptional. For starters, the characters are rote: Tommy's co-workers are fratty traders who play sadistic games and down shots after shots in bars filled with hot women. Bledel plays the prototypical sweet girl (her only role lately, it seems); her girlfriends are all turned off by the dating scene. Greenberg's character, Daniel, has no trajectory; he begins and ends in the same spot. And Andrew McCarthy makes a swaggering, foul-mouthed appearance as a boss, but it's all for show.
As for Tommy, though he's slightly better written, he's still transparent. Why bother to plumb the depths when one can already predict what's underneath? More problematic is the tone: Is the film a romance? A rebuke of Wall Street? A sinister treatise on dating? All of the above? Perhaps none: Its versions of all these options are wan and superficial.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Tommy and how he changes over time? Is it an actual, gradual change, or was his true personality there all along? Who exactly is the good guy in this movie?
On Tommy's workplace: Do you think that's really how stock traders all behave? Are they often portrayed in this manner? Why? Is it fair to be displayed in this light? What did you think about all the drinking they do?
Why would Daniel want to be a trader in the first place? Why would Tommy take him under his wing? Does this plot point make sense?
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