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STUDIO: PHASE 4 FILMS
RUNNING TIME: 86 MINS.
- ‘Good Dick Goes To Sundance’
- Gag Reel
- English 5.1 Dolby Surround and 2.0 Stereo with Spanish Subtitles and English Closed Captions
- 16:9 Enhanced
(500) Days Of Why Won’t She Touch It?
Jason Ritter, Marianna Palka, Eric Edelstein, and Martin Starr.
Troubled Guy Meets Troubled Girl. Feelings Happen. Nobody gets laid.
Cyclops thought being “cured” would be the start of a wonderful new life. However, he soon realized just how
big a “mistake” his night with Kitty Pryde was.
Good Dick is a classic case of false advertising. The DVD box art and blurb both suggest a tender rom-com with a spunky edge that’s aimed squarely at Joanna Newsom’s followers. It’s a good thing, too, because it’s a lot easier to sell Juno’s horny little brother than it is her abrasive, grim uncle. An uncle who acts like he did one too many tours in ‘Nam ‘cos his ex-wife blew the pool boy. Even the writer of that last sentence would have a hard time getting excited to see THAT Good Dick.
There’s a shy, oddball Guy (Ritter.) He works at a video store with similarly “offbeat movie man-boys.” We know this because they’ve hung up a Zombie poster at work and wear winter hats indoors in L.A. There’s a Girl (writer/director Palka) who comes in all the time to rent Erotica, something not mentioned once in any of the flick’s accompanying literature either. This is the highlight of Guy’s day so he follows her home (as you do) and peeks through her window while she masturbates to said movies.
“Jean, if you’ll just let me pick up my Replacements LP’s,
I’ll be on my way…”
Though its blend of romance and comedy is disarmingly blunt, Good Dick is still familiar enough to appeal to fans of more accessible indie fare. Jason Ritter alone has more energy and affability, despite his character’s lax morals, than a Jesse Eisenberg clone battalion, all of whom are in dire need of a haircut. There’s a creaking, “everyday” feel throughout; all twinkly guitars, bleary eyes, and darkened hallways. The film establishes His and Her’s respective arcs (salvation from drug and childhood abuse through love) diligently, but it still feels flat and uneventful thanks to some of the least urgent progress you’ll ever see outside Irish politics. Our reluctant invitation into the non-lives of the protagonists mirrors the Girl’s gradual acceptance of the Guy, her rude and even hostile defences gradually giving way to his persistence.
Good Dick is braver than its “shocking sex-talk” dialogue suggests. It handles complex emotional issues such as abstinence, guilt, and childhood trauma with charming sensitivity and there are some moments of excellence. The Girl begging The Guy to leave in order to avoid sex; the moment she can’t control herself anymore and just pins him against a fence with a kiss, to name but two. However, there are also moments of damaging writing. Tom Arnold, in possibly the most thankless cameo ever, isn’t given enough screen-time to turn Monster Father into a person. Unfortunately, the various subplots involving Ritter’s friends aren’t much better. Eric (Edelstein) in particular is distractingly bad as Best Mate, poor line delivery making him little more than a disappointing side-note. Martin Starr is Martin Starr, but even he can only do so much when saddled with an equally one-note character like Surly Everyman. Defiant and oddly irresistible, Good Dick overcomes some clunky scripting to deliver a unique, Earthy love story.
“Sure, Scott… remember your vinyls but not your driver’s license.
A film as dark as this has no right to scrub up so well; the glare of afternoon sun poking through self-imposed darkness looks especially beautiful. Unfortunately, the disc’s bonus content doesn’t match its fine picture and sound quality. Two almost identical trailers, one slightly racier than the other, reveal a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the film as lighter and “quirkier” than it is. A gag reel must have felt like a clever addition to such a dissonant movie, but it’s too long and unfunny to justify its inclusion.
“Good Dick Goes To Sundance”, the standout extra, is a smartly produced documentary which offers a glimpse into the movie’s history and critical reception. Unlike so many of these docs, this hour plus of footage featuring interviews and screening Q&A’s with the crew from the ’08 festival provides a richer understanding of the film’s creation. Ritter and Palka’s pride – they were also producers on the movie – is obvious. Made for around a million dollars, in some cases with friends and associates, it lends the film a genuine “underdog” charm. Moreover, it will teach you that Palka’s native city is pronounced Glas-GOW, Scotland, not Glas-GO as was previously believed.
“I really appreciate you hanging out with me, Mr. Manson.
It’s just been so hard since Jean threw me out.”
“Anytime, dude. Zen Pussy’s a
flick that’s got me through some tough times. Things are gonna be