The Good Guy -- Film Review

Benjamin Walker
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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13:  Actor Benjamin Walker attends the "Bloody Bloody Jackson" opening night after party at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 13, 2010 in New York City.

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NEW YORK -- The Wall Street/Upper East Side axis traveled by today's (really last year's) bright young things provides the playing field for writer-director Julio DePietro's impressive debut, "The Good Guy." Suggesting "Metropolitan" meets "Boiler Room," the film has attractive "Metropolitan"-like upwardly mobile urbanites but without the "Boiler Room" cynicism and energy that gave that film its originality and edge.

But maybe a nostalgic whiff of recent financial high times is a good thing, even if not quite the hedge needed against what looms as a long-shot theatrical bet.

DePietro, who worked in investment, wisely writes about what he knows. The film kicks off in flashback as disheveled hero Tommy (Scott Porter), escaping from a nocturnal downpour and a bad situation, begs for help in the doorway of estranged girlfriend Beth (Alexis Bledel). But she's otherwise engaged with an unidentified other and turns pathetic Tommy away.

Jump to months earlier as Tommy and Beth are beginning a serious relationship. She's an art curator on the verge of an interesting job switch at a time when jobs easily changed. Tommy's a Wall Street comer. He shines on a frenetic trade floor as a hotshot bank investment sales guy capable of pitting hedge fund and mutual fund managers against one another for shares in his clients' companies.

Tommy worships at the feet of Cash (Andrew McCarthy), his all-knowing, wiseass boss who is a master of the game. When Cash learns that a co-worker is jumping to another job, he orders Tommy to quickly find a replacement. His unlikely choice is Daniel (Bryan Greenberg), the soft-spoken computer whiz kid of the sales floor. Cash has doubts, but Tommy assures he'll break him in.

Tommy manages to turn his creation into a salesman who can look and play the part. In an unbelievably coincidental meet-cute in a bookstore line, Daniel also begins a friendship with Beth that goes where we expect as Tommy lets his partying and womanizing get the better of him.

The film is helped by supporting players including Colin Egglesfield and Anna Chlumsky as smart, upwardly mobile pals caught up in a culture awash in money, sex, greed and a need to succeed.

Like its characters, "Good Guy" is sharp, fun and pleasant to behold, and its recreational, apartment and workplace locales are appropriately slick and showy. The film's most curious flaw is the depiction of Daniel early on as a shy geek who goes all wussy when talking to girls. Hey, the guy is a hunky ex-Marine who went to Princeton. Such vulnerability should have been his diabolical ruse, not a personality trait.

Conceived and filmed before the economic mess, "Good Guy," which might be filed under romantic drama/historical, does pose one provocative question: How much of its carefree, free-spending world still exists today?

Venue: Tribeca Film Festival
Production : Belladonna Prods.
Cast: Scott Porter, Alexis Bledel, Bryan Greenberg, Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Yoo, Anna Chlumsky
Director-screenwriter: Julio DePietro
Producers: Linda Moran, Rene Bastian, Julio DePietro
Director of photography: Seamus Tierney
Production designer: Tommaso Ortino
Music: Tomandandy
Costume designer: Erika Munro
Editor: Ray Hubley
No rating, 90 minutes