Sol Goode (2003) / Comedy-Romance

MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, language and some drug use
Running Time: 99 min.

Cast: Balthazar Getty, Katherine Towne, Jamie Kennedy, Danny Comden, Tori Spelling  
Director: Danny Comden
Screenplay: Danny Comden

Review published March 11, 2003

Sometimes I question the marketing decisions of the production companies that decide to make video renters think they are getting one thing and giving them another.  In the case of Sol Goode, the trailer and the box cover will make you think this is one of those gross-out comedies like American Pie or Road Trip.  Although it has its share of flatulence and sex jokes in Sol Goode, there's only about enough to fill up the running length of the trailer, which the marketers made sure to exploit to its fullest. 

Unfortunately for them, these jokes aren't the film's strongest suit, so the trailer looks like another tepid attempt at a run-of-the-mill dumb comedy.  A more accurate description of Sol Goode would be a dating comedy in the tradition of Swingers, which was also about one guy's attempt to become part of the Hollywood scene while struggling to find a meaningful relationship, while barhopping with his kooky buddies.  There isn't really a defined plot to either movie except to claim they are "coming-of-age" films depicting men in their 20s who still haven't come of age.

The title is actually the name of the main character, Sol, played by Balthazar Getty (White Squall, Judge Dredd). Pronounced like "It's all good," it also describes his philosophy on life, never really carrying through on many of his ambitions except when he has to, content to roll with the flow of life.  His Los Angeles apartment rent is still being paid for by parents, who want him to finally make something of himself, despite his aspirations of becoming the next big thing in the acting world.  Necessity finally forces Sol to do or die, as his money flow is being cut off, his car gets towed, and the job market seems bleak for a guy with virtually no skills.  He begins to look at his life and tries to strip away that which has no real purpose anymore, and finds that it is about all he does.  He wants a good job, and a relationship that's more than about casual sex, and hopes that finally becoming self-sufficient will make a man out of him.

Sol GOode is a decent flick, not really as good as Swingers, but better than most comic flicks around nowadays about twenty-somethings and their problems.  Danny Comden (Urban Legend), who plays Cooper in the film, also served as the film's writer and director, and for the most part, he impresses in every department.  There are good performances by the hip young cast, knowing insights which bubble up throughout the story, and a good sense for the proper tone for each scene, blending in the soundtrack well.

If there is a weakness to Sol Goode, it's because it occasionally tries to be dumb, I guess because someone felt it needed more laughs, with crude sight gags like dog poop, farting, and having characters have to announce they need a bowel movement frequently.  Not really enough to offend you, but they are definite distractions from some of the film's bigger charms.

Sol Goode is gets a recommendation as a romantic comedy, and should especially appeal to those who enjoy films about dating in LA and the wanna-be's in the Hollywood scene.  Although it is a rather inconsequential film in the end, while it's on, the likeability factor is high, with enough charisma to almost make you overlook its aspirations to be worse.

Qwipster's rating:

2003 Vince Leo