Good Dick **
Directed by Marianna Palka
Written by Marianna Palka
Jason Ritter as He
Marianna Palka as She
Tom Arnold as Dad
Mark Webber as Derek
Rated R for sexual content and language.
"Good Dick" is a kind of cross between "Punch Drunk Love" and "Lost in Translation," if both of those movies took their rather offbeat love stories and turned them into completely forced and even at times rather creepy indie fair. Marianna Palka writes, directs, and stars in this project of her's, as a unnamed woman who comes into a local video and only rents dirty movies. The people that work at the store are fascinated by her, especially our nameless male character (this is starting to seem a lot like "Once" too with the name thing. . .), who takes her address and starts bringing her dirty movies to her door, telling her that his aunt recently died who lives in the building and he is in grief. He begins to stay at her house, sleeping in her bed after she looses a bet, and having to deal with her emotional lifestyle-mainly her sexual compulsions and how she only wants to sexually please herself with the movies.
The film tries to be more offbeat than it really is, and it borders this quality into near-creepiness, mostly on the part of the male character, played by Jason Ritter. His self-proclaimed love for her, with I saw more as an obsession, eventually got strange-him showing up at her house night after night, masturbating in her bed while she takes a shower in one scene, and than even calling himself her boyfriend when she doesn't seem interested. If Palka intended us to get the impression that she was interested in him in her distant way, it did not come across, except for when she follows him to the movies one night but doesn't go in. I really liked Palka's acting here, and she really did make a character worth depicting, and I would have liked more of that. I would have liked more about her and not about this forced odd love story that was being told.
As for Palka and her tone, I'm not exactly sure what she wants this to be-comedy, drama? I don't know. The subject matter is serious, and I have a feeling on the page the material was supposed to be serious, but it borders on the edge of being just plain bizarre-the audience was laughing too much, and I really don't think that was the intention. She is trying to channel all of these other, and better, indie films-the nameless characters of "Once," the odd OCD of "Punch Drunk Love," and than at the end she whispers something in his ear, much like the ending of "Lost in Translation." However the different between the whisper at the end of that film is that Bob and Charlotte actually earned that private moment for the two of them, and I was able to feel the love they had for each other. "Good Dick" simply feels like it wants them to have a private moment, but they didn't earn it. There was not an single ounce of love in this film, and as amusing as it was for a short period of time it really is rather meaningless and horribly dirty.