Movie Review: “Such Good People”, Shame About The Movie

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Review by James McDonald

A young couple discovers a secret room filled with cash while house-sitting for rich friends who die while out of the country.

The best part of this movie is the opening credits, seriously. Executed using an innovative title sequence to match the film’s plot line and accompanied by a jazzy, salacious melody, it is very reminiscent of the sprightly and lighthearted comedies of the 60s and 70s. Movies like “The Pink Panther”, “A Shot in the Dark” and “The Party”. I also have to give accolades to composer Jonathan Dinerstein for creating a playful and wistful soundtrack, one that implies that we are anticipating a mischievous and high-spirited movie. Unfortunately, Mr. Dinerstein’s wonderful score is the only notable aspect of this movie worth mentioning.

The film tells the story of a gay couple, Richard (Michael Urie) and Alex (Randy Harrison), who one day decide to crash a garden party and get to know the owners of the house, Jake (Scott Wolf) and Chloe (Kate Reinders). They are both humanitarians who love to travel abroad and work with charities who adopt orphaned children. Jake and Chloe take to Richard and Alex and in no time, both guys are house-sitting for them while they go off to Bhutan to do some charity work. While they are away, Richard and Alex accidentally discover a hidden room that is filled with wads of cash, almost a million dollars to be exact and some Far Eastern artifacts.

Soon after, they are informed that Jake and Chloe were killed in a car accident and while they are saddened by this news, it doesn’t stop them from wanting to spend the money they found. Enter Alex’s sister Paige (Carrie Wiita) and her husband Cooper (James Urbaniak), close friends with Jake and Chloe who find out that they left behind, a sizable fortune and after having searched the house and coming up empty-handed, she suspects that Alex and Richard must have the money. The rest of the film is Paige masterminding a series of poorly executed and unbelievably ludicrous scenarios in which she tries to take the money from our oblivious heroes.

The beginning of the story suggests that we’re going to see a slapstick movie and while the intent is there, it never comes close to realizing that vision. I had images of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, bumbling from scene to scene and as stupid as he was, he always managed to save the day, accidentally. At times, Richard and Alex assume this moniker, clumsily moving throughout the film when the answer they are looking for, is right in front of them. Even Paige and Cooper adopt this disposition but instead of erroneously bustling throughout the movie, they play their scenes straight-faced, more akin to Clouseau’s boss Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), who becomes more and more frustrated at Clouseau’s incompetence but his ability to get the job done.

Director Stewart Wade is all over the place. He knows the story he wants to tell because believe it or not, there are some very strong intimations throughout the film that hint at something bigger and better but sadly, he never manages to realize them. Trying to actualize a slapstick comedy in today’s environment, is a precarious feat. Today’s audiences are far too intelligent and if not done correctly, as is the case here, then you’ve already failed. A few farcical moments here and there do not a good comedy make. Even Steve Martin’s horrendous “Pink Panther” remakes flopped because while that method of humor may have worked better in the 60s and 70s, today’s audiences just don’t buy that level of stupidity.

“Such Good People” is currently doing its rounds at the Film Festival circuit

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James McDonald
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