Good Dick (2008)

DVD Cover (Phase 4 Films)
Genres: Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Drama
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Marianna Palka Marianna Palka
Marianna Palka Marianna Palka
Jason Ritter Jason Ritter
Eric Edelstein Eric Edelstein
Mark Webber Mark Webber
Martin Starr Martin Starr

6.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 16, 2008
Don't let the title fool you -- there is nothing pornographic about "Good Dick". Well...nothing obscene that we see as an audience. The characters in the film watch a lot of porn and do a lot of things while watching that porn, but we don't really see any of that ourselves. This makes me wonder why the title "Good Dick" at all? It's going to make it a 'catch' on the festival circuit, but no distributor is going to release it with that title. It's just a matter of time before it's picked up and its name changed to something more accessible to the theatrical circuit. But, "Good Dick" is a real winner. It played at Sundance and is currently still hitting various film festivals. It's one of the quirkiest and more enjoyable films I've seen this year and I hope it catches on to the mainstream very soon.

Let me start off with saying that our two lead characters don't have names. We never hear them referred to by anything other than nicknames for one another or as 'you' or 'him' of 'her'. Jason Ritter stars as Man, who works at a video store by day and sleeps in his car, at night. Through various subtle references, we learn that he use to be a junkie and has reformed his life. He now makes very little money and quickly becomes obsessed with a young girl who keeps coming into the video store and renting low-rate porn. She is Woman (Marianna Palka), who seems to hate all people. She is extremely weirded out when he starts showing up on her doorstep, claiming to have an aunt who lives in the same building. The two eventually develop an odd and downright sinister sort of non-sexual relationship, where they both depend on one another for bizarre things. The film shows how they grow in that relationship and eventually come to realize things about themselves.

This film doesn't give you anything for free. You're given these two awkward, infuriating characters and asked to care about them while they commit atrocious acts and say horrible and sickening things to one another. We want to feel sorry for the Jason Ritter character, but he is really is one step above a stalker and he brings a lot of it on himself. We want to sympathize with the Marianna Palka character, but she is just too damned evil and too damned confusing most of the time. Then, slowly, the films starts to reveal its secrets and we learn things about these characters that give us some clue as to why they are as fucked up as they are. The best scene in the film comes when the two of them about to commit their first sexual act, when something unexpected happens to Jason Ritter, ruining the moment and sending Marianna Palka's character into hysterics. There are several scenes where you just watched, mouth agape, as these people do these horrible things to one another.

The performances here are universally excellent. This is a star turn for Jason Ritter, who has been regulated to supporting character roles until now. He really shows his comedic and dramatic range here. He has the same comic sensibilities that his father had and he knows how to be quirky in just about every way. Marianna Palka is also a real discovery. She wrote and directed this film, as well as starring in it, and she just blows you away with her performance. It's not a likable performance, but it's not supposed to be. Martin Starr, Mark Webber and Josh Holt provide nice comedic support as Jason Ritter's co-workers, Charles Durning has an odd, but affecting cameo and Tom Arnold is just plain awesome as Marianna Palka's father, who comes in for just about five minutes at the end and brings everything in perspective. Tom Arnold has been doing a lot of very credible indie work the last few years and he once again proves why he deserves more attention in film.

So, "Good Dick" was fantastic. It will definitely make my end of the year list and I hope it finds distribution sooner rather than later. It deserves it. It's not an easy film to love and I can see why some people would downright hate it, but I fell in love with the nastiness of the characters and how mired in misery everything was. It made it all the more delightful that this was all done with such lightheartedness, until the end. "Good Dick" is an exceptional piece of filmmaking and a must-see for everyone. 10/10.
George Snow #1: George Snow - added 11/06/2009, 01:32 AM
I would love to discuss this movie with you, if you remember it vividly. This movie thoroughly confused me. While I agree with your assessment of the relationship, I found a lot of it to be so "out there" it was unbelievable. For a movie that was based in the reality of the characters, I found it disappointing.

Also, something that many reviewers didn't get was "Good Dick" is a term for getting a woman off. Which is the exact opposite of what was happening to everyone in this film. She's supposedly frigid, he's not getting any. Dad wasn't giving good dick, and the clerk couldn't find his woman's clit.

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