An unnamed video store clerk (Jason Ritter) falls hard for an unnamed woman (writer-director Marianna Palka) who rents porn and barely notices him. Undeterred, the sweet-natured guy nonchalantly insinuates himself into her life, tracking down where she lives, finding excuses to hang around her building, and eventually wearing her down until she allows him to move in with her. Though shes not interested in himfrankly, shes so withdrawn she barely seems interested in anythinghe starts behaving as if theyre a couple. In anyone elses hands, Palkas anti-romantic comedy would be an ironic parody of stalker films, but her insistence on playing the situation straight yields some rewarding emotional results. The characters may be misfitswe learn just how much so as the film progressesbut the performances are nicely restrained, allowing no actorly preciousness or smug cheap shots at the pairs expense. Unfortunately, Good Dick is all high-wire act, determinedly thwarting the expectations of its genre but unable to present a wholly successful alternative to rom-com conventionality. It feels provocative but inconclusivebrimming with intriguing ideas about loves dark underbelly, but not quite confident enough to pull them off.
Nov. 14-20, 2008