Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Man, this was… disturbing. As I point out every once in a while I like to watch a movie before I go to sleep and I had a choice between this movie ‘Good Dick’ or some random horror movie. The problem with me watching a horror flick before I turn in, even if that horror flick is terrible, invariably I will carry that movie over into my dream state. Thus we have this movie ‘Good Dick’ which is labeled as a ‘comedy’. You know… I think we need work on our definitions around here.

Our filmmakers didn’t give Jason Ritter’s character a name for some reason but I need to address my man as something so we’ll call him Edgar. Edgar works at a video store with three of his friends and every day a very strange and quiet woman comes into the store and rents erotica. She’s never given a name either so let’s call her June (writer / director Marianna Palka). For whatever reason Edgar is enchanted by June and has taken to stalking her, pulling her address from the store’s computers. Seriously, imagine going to the video store to rent porn and then all of the sudden finding the clerk at the video store who rented you this porn standing outside your home. All the time. Peering through your widow watching you ‘enjoy’ your porn. Sleeping in their car outside your apartment. Ringing your doorbell personally bringing you more porn despite you begging this clerk to leave you the hell alone. I personally cannot fathom many things more unsettling than this.

Edgar is also a pathological liar and has lied his way into June’s home and has wormed his way into living at June’s home. Right about now I’m simply hoping that Edgar doesn’t murder June. Then we get to know June a little bit. June is verbally abusive, distant, contrary… any word you can think of that can define someone wishing to alienate another person, that’s June. Now our concern is that June is going to murder Edgar. As seriously disturbed as both of these cats are, somebody’s gotta be murdering somebody somewhere down the line.

By now Edgar has claimed June as his own, calling her his ‘girlfriend’ despite her vehement protestations and brutal treatment towards the lunatic. But Edgar trudges along. The question would be why is June so angry and mean? An answer will eventually be provided for us, at least in relation to June because Edgar’s problems will remain somewhat vague. And love will flourish. Or murder. Or suicide. Now that’s comedy.

After ‘Good Dick’ is over and the credits roll I learn that Marianna Palka was the writer and director of her movie that she has starred in. Then the movie became even more disturbing making it nearly impossible for me to go sleep. When our main character confronts her boogeyman, now we have the thought that this is less a movie and more along the lines of artistic therapy. Recognizing that I have no knowledge on the origins of this film, but it now it appears that this is Marianna Palka’s personal attempt to work through some horrible, horrible demons. I would like to believe that this was just a story from someone’s fertile imagination but it sure did feel personal, and if this is the case then we can only hope that this cinematic exercise served its purpose.

As far as the movie itself goes… it is really, really strange. It is not a comedy. There is some funny back and forth dialog between the guys at the video store on occasion, one particularly amusing conversation revolving around one of the guys being unaware of the location of the clitoris which I think would be like not knowing your street address. That’s not even sex 101, that would be remedial sex right there. But aside from that, how this got classified as a comedy is beyond my simple ability to compute. I guess Jason Ritter’s character is suppose to garner some sympathy from us as the lovelorn suitor, but that’s also difficult because he is a pathological, lying, stalking peeping tom. It’s a challenge to pull for the guy. As time goes by Palka’s character turns out be worse, and even though we are given good reasons for her sour behavior near the very end, we still have to deal with her and her particular pathologies for 80 or so minutes before the sympathy factor can kick in. And I don’t even want to THINK about what the title is supposed to mean.

But despite the fact that I found ‘Good Dick’ very unsettling, littered with characters who were very unlikable, it still managed to draw you in and keep you watching. The movie is well acted and the characters, dislikable as they were, were interesting enough for one to at least be curious as to why they are the way that they are. I don’t know if any of that makes for something that could qualify as a good movie, but it was watchable and oddly intriguing.

So if you’re interested in observing one of the most dysfunctional relationships that I’m aware of committed to film, while a young lady works out some personal demons… Uh… yeah… ‘Good Dick’. Don’t even want to think about what this title is supposed to represent.

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