More guys-n-girls piffle with attractive people (with attractive jobs) exempt from all the common hassles with which the rest of us can readily rely, The Good Guy is mostly as generic as it sounds; but the first act has a few appealingly bitchy remarks, and there’s a reversal that’s almost unintentionally subversive. The opening has Distraught Hunk (Scott Porter) breaking up with Bland Naïf Young Women Think Representative of Them (Alexis Bledel) in the rain, looking back on the relationship that, we assume, pierced his ambitious GQ shield. The story then jumps back several weeks, with Hunk grooming a protégé (Bryan Greenberg, as forgettable here as he was in the Uma Thurman Prime), who is so cheesy/obviously naïve you just know he’s going to jump rank and make with the girl.
So far, so typical, but Porter isn’t the audience surrogate: Greenberg is. That development, in itself, is as unoriginal as everything else going on, but Good Guy eases us into its familiar scenario through the character that turns out to be the villain, with the hero introduced almost incidentally nearly a third of the way through the film. Hunk turns out to be more devious than we initially assumed (he’s about a drug habit away from being an Easton Ellis character), while Naïve and Naïf find happiness in classical literature. This isn’t much, but it’s a tiny fake-out that reminds us that movies can make us root for most anything, and that most romantic comedies are (at best) casually amoral: more concerned with attainment of flesh and property in the service of conformity and comfort than frivolities such as connection, eroticism, compassion.
One wishes the film, or most any other romantic comedy, would make something of this structural lapse to challenge points of view that most rom-coms condition us to take for granted. Otherwise, Good Guy is just what you expect, though Andrew McCarthy turns up briefly as Hunk and Naïve’s boss and does a nice Martin Short bit (caustic but likeably front-and-center in his mercenary considerations), giving the picture an occasional shot of sitcom energy.