Brian Cherry (writer and producer David Crane) is a sad, lonely young man whose shyness (he prefers to consider this his “morals”) prevent him from connecting with women. When his more confident friend Sam (Rey Valentin) bribes the beautiful Jules (Lili Bordan) to strike up a conversation with him, his life is turned upside down. The two have an instant connection that feels like love to Cherry, but when Jules begins a simultaneous relationship with Sam, events are set in motion that will change all their lives forever.

Cherry is nearly a great film. It carefully avoids laying the blame for the eventual disaster at the feet of any one character, and the script has some moments that really sparkle. Cherry and Sam’s relationship is nicely realised and it’s easy to see how Cherry falls so totally for Jules, and why Jules is eventually compelled to leave him for Sam. The main problem here is one of empathy. Each of the characters is flawed in a way that tends to make them less sympathetic – Cherry’s “niceness” conceals an unattractive neediness and entitlement, Sam is a callous pick-up artist type (at least until his relationship with Jules) and Jules is lost and fickle.

Of these, Jules is probably the most problematic. Sam and Cherry can each be read as a sort of critique of an idea about manhood, but Jules remains mysterious until she’s not, and is weak until she’s powerful – seemingly at the whim of the plot. This shallowness in the only female character tends to undermine what is otherwise a tight and well-scripted thriller about sex, relationships and betrayal.

Despite my reservations, I’ll recommend this if only because it’s one of the few attempts I’ve seen in film to explode the myth of the Nice Guy.

DIRECTOR(S): Quinn Saunders | COUNTRY: USA | YEAR 2010 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): MVD Visual | RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 1.33:1 | REGION: ALL / NTSC | DISCS: 1

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