Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Nice Guy Johnny
The movie is all about a guy named Johnny learning to stand up for himself and following his dreams. The problem is that Johnny is so bland and boring (and uninterestingly played by Matt Bush) that it's hard to care what a 'nice guy' he is.
Johnny is faithful to his bitchy fiance Claire (also poorly played by Anna Wood), despite unsavory encouragement by his lecherous uncle (writer/director Edward Burns), but finds himself attracted to a dull 'free-spirited beauty' (Kerry Bische.)
The beauty, Brooke, is sending him the signals loud and clear, but Johnny's too much of a 'nice guy' to do anything about it. Or is he? The answer lies in annoying scenes punctuated arbitrarily with dull indie songs and stilted dialogue.
Here's the problem- the characters are so mind-numbingly one-dimensional that there is no reason to vouch for or care about any of them. Johnny and Brooke have NO chemistry whatsoever. We don't understand why one likes the other. We know that Brooke has only been with jerks in the past, and that she sees a sensitivity and candidness in Johnny that floors her. Too bad we couldn't care less about either of them.
Also, the dialogue is bad, especially compared to the unforced naturalness of the dialogue in "Newlyweds." The predictable falling-out between Claire and Johnny seems neither real nor interesting -- when she tells him she wishes his pencil dick would fall off, it seems like something a naive pre-teen would have written.
"Nice Guy Johnny" is uninteresting and lame, with a lead performance that seems mediocre at best, and characters who behave in increasingly stupid ways. My recommendation: skip it.
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Good review, Sarah. As you know, my reaction to this movie was pretty much the same as yours. If I had sensed any real connection between Johnny and Brooke, or if the meltdown of Johnny's relationship with Claire hadn't been so flat, it might have worked.ReplyDelete
The premise sounded promising; it is too bad the execution and characterizations weren't better.ReplyDelete
This is definitely Burns' weakest film as a director in my opinion. (Funny, then, that it is his personal favorite of his own films, right behind Sidewalks of New York.) I agree that most of Nice Guy Johnny is lame and rather uninteresting.ReplyDelete
The only credit I'll give it is that it helped Burns develop his new style of filmmaking: super cheap using consumer-grade equipment, with personal friends and no fancy locations. Failed here, worked wonders for Newlyweds and The Fitzgerald Family Christmas.
Well, I have to respect Edward Burns, even though his movies are obviously hit or miss for me. He obviously does what he does primarily for the love of film-making. I have great respect for any artist who rolls that way.Delete
Nice review. This isn't one of Burns' best films, but I did enjoy it. I even thought the lead characters did have chemistry. Still, it's not a great film, by any means.ReplyDelete
Sensing chemistry between movie characters seems to be a very subjective thing. :-)Delete