DVD Review - The Good Life (2012)

Tangi Miller (left) and Richard Gallion
in Christopher Nolen's "The Good Life"
This movie was directed by Christopher Nolen, an African-American filmmaker. He's not to be confused with Christopher Nolan, the white, British filmmaker, most known as the director of the Oscar-winning blockbusters The Dark Knight (2008) and Inception (2010). Nolen is working on a much, smaller scale and instead of attacking big themes within comic book and science-fiction structures. Nolen is attacking tiny themes within more intimate dramas like marriage and fidelity.

Tangi Miller stars as Mari, a professional, 30-something black woman who works in fashion and is quite successful with her own business. She's married to Jacques, a professional, 30-something black man who works in real estate. He isn't as successful but he's making efforts in a company.

Richard Gallion co-stars as Jacques. He decides he's going to sleep his way to the top. Jacques has an affair with his boss' daughter Honey, played by Maya Gilbert who looks like Michelle Williams from Destiny's Child. Jacques just wants to use her to get in good with her dad, so that he can get more success and then afterward dump her.

Unfortunately, Honey becomes like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction (1987). She threatens to destroy him unless he agrees to divorce Mari. Jacques tries to appease her with sex or lies, but eventually he decides to kick her to the curb. Yet, Honey doesn't go quietly.

The screenplay by Christopher Nolen, Melinda Nolen and Keisha Kidan does something clunky and redundant. Jacques and Honey have a conversation over the phone, while Honey is driving. It's a crazy moment and things go south, but it's essentially silly. It's a scene that would have been fine by itself, but then the same exact scene is repeated and then it's repeated again, and each repeat is too long and too needless.

At the same time, Mari begins to have an affair with her sexy, personal trainer Drew, played by Christian Keyes. It's assumed that she does so because Jacques has been avoiding her and lying. Mari never suspects Jacques of cheating, or if she does suspect, she never says so or confronts him about it. Being that Drew is Mari's ex-boyfriend, Jacques does suspect.

Nolen puts a title card at the end that gives a statistic of fidelity in marriage and a spouse's ignorance of it. The statistic is very high, which is rather disturbing. Instead of having his couple here learn about each other's affair, both stay in the dark. A lame reason brings the two together and is a shortcut to a happy resolution that avoids real drama.

One Star out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 22 mins.


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