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Ryan Turner (Charlie Sheen) is a rich, shallow stockbroker who, after a false stock tip sees him lose all his money, his clients, his licence to practise after a hearing accusing him of insider trading, moves in with wannabe girlfriend and terrible woman’s advice columnist Cindy Styne (Denise Richards). When Cindy leaves him and the country with a more lucrative Latin partner, Ryan is left to face poverty alone; that is. until a phone call from Cindy’s editor Page Henson (Angie Harmon) gives him the idea of taking over Cindy’s advice column.

Review by Craig Miller:
Even though the premise of the romantic comedy is as basic as boy meets girl, they fall in love, there is conflict, they patch things up and live happily ever after, putting said theory into practice successfully is nigh on impossible. Now, Good Advice may not be the best example of a masterpiece in the romantic comedy genre, but it does succeed in following the formula, and it does it better than expected. Screenwriters Margosis and Horn have written a pretty tight screenplay that relies heavily on dialogue and works well within its confines. They try to stay away from the outrageous, long-winded speeches that never fail to give off a sense of unbelievability, and the cast works really well with the (at times) punchy dialogue. The initial strength of the movie is apparent, as the idea of a man taking over as a woman’s advice columnist is not a complete impossibility, and that realness helps the overall picture work. Sure it’s light and fluffy, but all romantic comedies are (though this one doesn’t have Meg Ryan in it!).

The performances are also pretty good, with Sheen (yes, Sheen), Richards (yes, Richards) and Harmon in the three major roles solid, and were good casting choices as they work well under the direction of Rash and all three bring some life to their characters. The supporting cast also gives the film some much needed depth with Rosanna Arquette and Jon Lovitz bringing their fantastic comic timing aboard, and both work well in helping the major characters and their plot points move along nicely.

The emotional character inconsistencies are probably the thing that hurts the film the most, in particular Sheen’s Ryan Turner, who goes literally from the most shallow, womanizing, insensitive character Sheen can muster, into a caring, feminine, considerate man, in what seems to be an afternoon - leaving behind all traits of his former self. It does struggle towards the end of the second act, with a sense that they have put in some scenes to help spell out a few things that are just not needed. While Good Advice will certainly walk away empty handed come Oscar night, it does do what a lot of the recently released, bigger budget romantic comedies have failed to do: entertain.

Obviously with these small budget features comes a small budget extras package, and this special features package could hardly be any smaller! The behind the scenes feature is a 10-minute look at the filming of the movie and, while it contains very little in the way of interesting footage, it does contain interviews with cast members, the director, writers and members of the crew, some of whom have a couple of interesting things to say. But most of it is the usual promo ‘he’s so talented’ stuff. The theatrical trailer rounds out the package.

Published July 31, 2003

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(US) - 2002

CAST: Charlie Sheen, Angie Harmon, Denise Richards, Jon Lovitz, Rosanna Arquette

DIRECTOR: Steve Rash

SCRIPT: Daniel Margosis and Robert Horn

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

PRESENTATION: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9 Enhanced; Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the scenes feature; trailer.


DVD RELEASE: June 11, 2003

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