Written and filmed before the economic collapse, the Wall St. drama "The Good Guy" is about as valuable as AIG stock.
The film, written and directed by Julio DePietro in his debut, is indeed unfortunate in its timing. About the only hint of the stock market collapse is a fleeting background news broadcast of "another record down day on Wall Street" — a bit of audio surely added in post-production.
"The Good Guy," though, can't be said to be completely irrelevant. It's about Wall St. lies, only told through romantic deception rather than financial fakery.
Scott Porter (Jason Street on "Friday Night Lights") stars as Tommy Fielding, a hot shot broker for the fictional bank Morgan Brothers. (In the wreckage of the market collapse, a Morgan Stanley-Lehman Brothers merger turned out to be surprisingly feasible.)
He works for the loutish, cheating and all-too-blatantly-named Cash (Andrew McCarthy). He's as close as the film gets to Gordon Gekko, but Cash — and "The Good Guy" as a whole — doesn't have anything close to that bite.
Tommy's girlfriend is Beth (Alexis Bledel), an urban conservationist who's beginning to wonder if her Wall St. boyfriend is moral enough for an archaeologist like herself. She's also gravitating toward a young colleague of Tommy's: Daniel Seaver (Bryan Greenberg).
Daniel is fresh to Wall St. Though he looks the part as a young white guy in a shirt and tie, we're repeatedly told how ill-fitting he is to Wall St. as an Ivy League graduate and a former Marine.
Like many films do, "The Good Guy" uses a kind of Facebook profile approach to investing intelligence in its characters. Daniel is smart not because of anything he says or does, but because his favorite book is "Pride and Prejudice." And he's been to Botswana!
Daniel, rather unbelievably, does poorly in picking up girls or in the "Mad Men"-style wining-and-dining of clients. He fares better with Beth's book club, and when they take up "The Good Soldier," its obvious "The Good Guy" is a kind of homage to Ford Madox Ford's novel.
But this is a movie of wallflowers. DePietro's cardboard cutout characters try to reinforce the simplistic cliche of: suits bad, artsy people good.
"The Good Guy" is a long flashback, bookended by an eventful, rainy night. It's a picture of a Manhattan (mostly the Upper East Side) of fancy rooftops, doorman buildings, taxis, nice restaurants — and nothing in shadows.
It makes one crave the darkness of "American Psycho."