Good, but not Great Softcore porn actually leads to love in Marianna Palkas strange romcom, ´Good Dick´
SUN-KISSED ROMANTIC comedies have gone the way of sunny, brassy movie musicals. Now, the only shining examples of either genre are films that edge their characters happiness with darkness. Last years Broken English and Dedication found a cult following (and some critical acclaim) for refusing to portray the lives of their romance-starved leads as anything other than lonely and depressing. And if writer-director-star Marianna Palkas Good Dick isnt quite as exquisite as those two underrated films are, then hers is a worthy effort.
Eschewing backstory (and character names) for the most part, Palka presents audiences with a needy video-store clerk (Jason Ritter) and a borderline agoraphobe (Palka) who seems to leave her apartment solely to rent softcore porn from the video store Ritters character
works for. Intrigued by this sullen, semi-hostile woman, the clerk eventually looks up her address and starts showing up outside her apartment door, slowly worming his way into her life. In another context, Good Dicks premise would be the basis for an excellent Lifetime TV movie starring Tori Spelling, but here these two lonely people supposedly just need someone as damaged as they are. Whether or not Good Dick and its borderline stalker plot works is almost entirely dependent upon whether one is capable of overlooking the creepy aspects of Palkas story. For anyone willing to believe in the fairytale quality of the movie (a good-hearted prince rescues a forlorn princess from her isolated tower and rented porn), Good Dick manages to be a squirmily charming romantic movie, chockablock with surprising details (Palka
never touches her videos without plastic baggies over her hands; Ritter leaves a strangely touching thank you note after spending his first night in her apartment).
But whatever success Good Dick may achieve as a film is almost entirely thanks to Ritters performance.Without his charisma and boy-next-door appeal, the
Marianna Palkas Good Dick is, no joke, about getting good dick.
movie would be just a cautionary tale about not using Netflix.
Directed by Marianna Palka at Landmark Sunshine Cinema Through Oct. 30, Running Time: 86 min.