DVD Review - Such Good People

I loved the two previous features of Stewart Wade. His first feature-length movie was Coffee Date (2006) and it was a funny and insightful look into sexuality and stereotypes. His second feature was Tru Loved (2008), which tread on similar ground but was more a great comedy of errors or a great, somewhat screwball too.

I loved the two previous features because Wade wrote as well as directed both films. He clearly has a great comedic sense, a great romantic sense and a great empathetic sense. This third and latest feature directed by Wade was not written by him, so all that great comedic sense, great romantic sense and great empathetic sense are all but gone. The lesson is that Wade needs to be the writer of his films or exact more control because when he doesn't, the whole affair falls flat.

Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) stars as Richard whose occupation or life outside this plot escaped me but doesn't matter at all any way. Randy Harrison (Queer As Folk) co-stars as Alex, the boyfriend, partner or spouse of Richard. Alex also has an indeterminate or inconsequential occupation or vocation. Alex does have a half-sister named Paige, played by Carrie Wiita. Paige is married or otherwise involved with Cooper, played by James Urbaniak. Paige and Cooper are in the market for a house called Edendale in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. Alex and Richard stumble upon this house one day and do what they can to acquire it too.

Alex and Richard end up house-sitting Edendale. While there, they discover a secret stash of a lot of money hidden behind the walls. When the couple that owns Edendale mysteriously dies, Alex and Richard decide to keep the money and use it for various purposes. Some of those purposes are selfish, which leads them into a dangerous and wacky conspiracy, involving dog-kidnapping, Buddhist or Asian artifacts and murder.

I get that this story is supposed to be a zany caper, but sadly non of it is funny enough. The actors try to sell it as best they can, particularly Urie, but it's just not there. One moment where Alex and Richard have to get back their kidnapped dogs from the Latino dog thief made me laugh, but it was brief and the movie had no other scene that was as funny. I laughed at nothing else. All of the rest of the comedy falls absolutely flat.

The movie is well-shot and well-produced. Wade knows how to wield a camera and construct scenes. Yet, when the material isn't on the page, Wade can do nothing more with it. Even great guest stars like Alec Mapa and Lance Bass can do nothing more. They perform what the page dictates, but the page dictates and demands so little that screenwriter David Michael Barrett really needed to go back and reconsider the comedy and the characterizations.

I put most of the blame on Barrett, but Wade is a little responsible for the uneven tone, which doesn't work often. For example, we're supposed to follow and empathize with Alex and Richard, this white gay couple, especially when the criminal element is introduced. Yet, the couple starts out as so unlikeable and hardly anything they do helps to endear them. Alex and Richard are just too pampered, privileged and whiny.

On a random tangent, Jason-Shane Scott has a cameo in this movie. He walks on as a delivery man with one line. Jason-Shane Scott became well-known as a soap stud over 15 years ago. He had a great and prominent role in the defunct series One Life to Live. He left the show before it was cancelled and his tall, gorgeous looks and amazing talent poised him for anything. Strangely, I've only seen him make cameos like this, notably in independent gay films. Yet, he deserves more.

Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 37 mins.


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