Good People

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday September 26, 2014

Kate Hudson stars in 'Good People'
Kate Hudson stars in 'Good People'  (Source:Millennium Entertainment)

Forget James Franco; he's promiscuous about movies, and so prolific that he can get away with dross. He'll be fine. But poor Kate Hudson! Ever since "Almost Famous," she's been in need of a good movie to restore her to the career highs that she ought to have held onto. She won't find it in "Good People," the ironically titled, B-level movie based on the novel by Marcus Sakey.

The thumbnail: A married couple -- American transplants living in London -- happen across a dead tenant, Ben (Francis Magee), to whom they've been subletting their basement. Then they happen across the satchel of money he's hidden away. They don't, however, find the shipment of a heroin-derived drug, "Liquid O," on which he's managed to O.D.

The money and the drugs are loot stolen by a sociopath named Jack (Sam Spruell), whom Ben double-crossed. Jack's plan was to steal from a crime kingpin who refers to himself as Genghis Khan (played by Omar Sy with oily polish: "I'm expanding my empire," he states grandly) and divvy up the proceeds. Ben's plan was to shoot Jack's brother Bobby (Michael Fox) and abscond. With the money in their possession and no idea where it came from, Tom (Franco) and Anna (Hudson) hatch a plan of their own: Keep the cash and use it to pay off their credit card bills, their rent, and the mortgage on the family manor Tom's been renovating (and is about to lose to the bank). Oh, and go in for a spot of IVF. It seems they've had no luck getting pregnant.

Enter Detective Inspector John Halden (Tom Wilkinson), a good cop with a gut feeling that Ben's death might trigger a break in a case he's been working on against direct orders from his corrupt superior. It seems Jack is a bit of a lady's man: He likes to get single mothers hooked on drugs and then, well, who knows. Whatever he does with the young ladies, things tend not to turn out well -- and one of Jack's victims was Halden's daughter.

The plot is so threadbare you can practically see right through it... and you do. The pasteboard characters don't help any. And the action? Poorly directed, poorly shot, poorly edited. Director Henrik Ruben Genz does such an inept job with Kelly Masterson's screenplay that the film turns out too overtly fake, and the acting too awful, for its broad, silly implausibilities to be entertaining.

"Good People" is, in short, a bad movie, but that's not its cardinal sin. Bad movies, after all, can offer a few laughs or the occasional cinematic innovation. Far worse than being a run-of-the-mill misfire, this movie takes the rare distinction of being a total waste of time.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.