Filled with witty one-liners and a genuinely credible love story between Charlie Sheen and Angie Harmon, Good Advice is the best direct-to-video flick I've seen in ages.
And what a surprise. It starts out sleepily enough, with a stereotypical Wall Street stockbroker named Ryan (Sheen) who cheats on his advice-columnist girlfriend Cindy (Denise Richards, now engaged to Sheen in real life), and resorts to insider trading to further his career. But he sleeps with the wrong woman and finds his career suddenly ended. Soon after that, Cindy dumps him for another guy and sticks him with the rent when she jets off for Brazil. Very morose so far, with no likable characters -- what a comedy!
But things pick up when, desperate for money, Ryan starts ghost-writing Cindy's advice column, without telling Cindy's cold publisher boss Page (Angie Harmon). (Presumably they leave her paychecks blank, but whatever.) And Page has never liked her column anyway ("Get married" is a common solution), so Ryan pulls out all the stops to turn things around. Eventually he/she becomes a sensation (at least in Manhattan's Chelsea, where the paper is distributed), and of course, things come to a head as Ryan falls for Page, the press tries to figure out who Cindy has become, and Cindy returns to the U.S. in a tizzy.
While it's full of both publishing and stockbrokering inaccuracies (Breathless broker: "Their stocks are gonna explode!"), the dialogue is fresh and the characters eventually overcome their initial loathsomeness to make the film considerably fun. Jon Lovitz steals the show, though, as Ryan's plastic surgeon friend -- and his dialogue always manages to bring the movie back to a discussion of the various body parts he can "fix." I had trouble pausing the tape to go to the bathroom and frequently laughed out loud.
Sure, this relationship examination is no Annie Hall, but what is? Considering the movie's humble origins, color me impressed.