Nice Guy Johnny (2010)

I picked this film after being impressed by director Edward Burns’ “Newlyweds,” which I found to be well-acted, involving, and true to life. Wow. What a mistake. Not only does “Nice Guy Johnny” suffer from a complete lack of likable characters, it rings totally false, and fails to come up with a valid point for its entire duration.

The movie is all about a guy named Johnny learning to stand up for himself and following his dreams. The problem is that Johnny is so bland and boring (and uninterestingly played by Matt Bush) that it’s hard to care what a ‘nice guy’ he is.

Johnny is faithful to his bitchy fiance Claire (also poorly played by Anna Wood), despite unsavory encouragement by his lecherous uncle (writer/director Edward Burns), but finds himself attracted to a dull ‘free-spirited beauty’ (Kerry Bische.)

The beauty, Brooke, is sending him the signals loud and clear, but Johnny’s too much of a ‘nice guy’ to do anything about it. Or is he? The answer lies in annoying scenes punctuated arbitrarily with dull indie songs and stilted dialogue.

Here’s the problem- the characters are so mind-numbingly one-dimensional that there is no reason to vouch for or care about any of them. Johnny and Brooke have NO chemistry whatsoever. We don’t understand why one likes the other. We know that Brooke has only been with jerks in the past, and that she sees a sensitivity and candidness in Johnny that floors her. Too bad we couldn’t care less about either of them.

Also, the dialogue is bad, especially compared to the unforced naturalness of the dialogue in “Newlyweds.” The predictable falling-out between Claire and Johnny seems neither real nor interesting — when she tells him she wishes his pencil dick would fall off, it seems like something a naive pre-teen would have written.

“Nice Guy Johnny” is uninteresting and lame, with a lead performance that seems mediocre at best, and characters who behave in increasingly stupid ways. My recommendation: skip it.

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