Good Sam – review (Netflix)

    New York reporter, Kate Bradley (Tiya Sircar) likes to take risks in pursuit of newsworthy stories. When she takes an unnecessary risk to film a dangerous fire, a fire at which she meets one of the firefighters, Eric Hayes (Chad Connell), her boss, David Dyal (Mark Camacho) pulls her off of dangerous stories and sends her out to interview a woman, Christina Gomez (Christina Tannous), who anonymously receives one hundred thousand dollars on her doorstep. 

   A sceptical Kate goes and speaks to Christina. Christina sees that Kate does not really believe in good Samaritans or altruism without an angle. Kate’s father, Ashok (Ivan Smith), is a senator. He invites her to a benefit that he is having. At the benefit, Kate meets Jack Hansen (Marco Grazzini), a hedge fund manager who supports her father’s campaign. 

    Jack seems very taken by Kate and goes full charm offensive on her, asking her out. Kate turns him down, saying she does not go out with associates of her father. Jack continues to pursue her anyway. Another person receives an anonymous donation and Kate follows it up. Kate is now more curious than ever about who ‘Good Sam’, the name that the media have given to the anonymous donor. 

   One of Kate’s leads takes her to an address looking for Patrick Hayes. When she gets to the address, she is confronted by the firefighter, Eric. He is Patrick’s brother. Kate asks for Patrick but is informed that he died some months before. Kate’s cameraman, Josh (Jesse Camacho), ribs Kate about being flustered when around Eric. Kate ignores him.

   Jack invites Kate out for dinner and they have a good time. Meanwhile, the money keeps being left. Kate continues to look for ‘Good Sam’, following up with Christina to find out what she has done with the money since her windfall. Christina, wanting to share her good fortune, has bought her neighbour a car. Another recipient, Marie Ellis (Myléne Dinh-Robic), donates her all of hers to a cancer charity. 

    David calls Kate and Josh as they are on the road and sends them to cover another rescue. Eric is there when they get there. Kate gets a text from “Good Sam’. He tells her where the next donation is happening so as she can get to the story first. David reluctantly takes Kate off of the ‘Good Sam’ story. The higher-ups want their highest profile reporter, Susan Andrews (Kelly Hope Taylor). Kate goes out with Eric. She gets another text. ‘Good Sam’ wants to meet. 

     She goes to the meeting place and Jack turns up claiming to be ‘Good Sam’. She leaves with him and he tells her that he made a lucky investment and made eight hundred dollars. He thought that he should spread the luck. He says he fears that the story is getting too big and he does not want to be discovered. Kate says that he should let her interview him. Jack agrees. 

    Jack does the interview and it goes really well. They go to a small Mexican food place, where Jack says they will not be discovered. As they are eating they are found by a rival channels news crew. Something in Jack’s soundbite bothers Kate. Jack tries to make a move on Kate, but she rejects him. 

    Kate takes Jack to see Christina but he seems nervous around her. Jack invites her to another benefit dinner. At the dinner, he tells her that he is running for Congress. Kate goes to dinner at Eric’s place and he tells her the story of Patrick’s death. Kate continues to investigate Jack and finds out that he sent out a press release, telling people where he would be when they got discovered in the Mexican food place. 

    Kate confronts Jack. He admits that he only gave away half of the donations after he saw all the press that ‘Good Sam’ was getting. He wanted to improve his profile for his candidacy. Kate goes back to the original four benefactors. She speaks to Jesse Durham (Vince Benvenuto). He tells her that he was Patrick’s best friend. When she speaks to Christina, she finds out that she was Patrick and Eric’s babysitter. 

    Kate tells Eric that she knows he is ‘Good Sam’. Eric explains that the money came from the insurance on the boat that Patrick died on. The people he gave the money had been good to his brother. He did it anonymously so as they would not feel beholden to him. 

   Kate exposes Jack. She gets together with Eric, whose generosity has inspired others to be kind. The end. 

    Very much in the vein of the much sweeter and better 1994 Nicholas Cage film, It Could Happen To You, Netflix’s Good Sam aims to be a feel-good experience. From a book by Date Meserve and a script by Tina Booth, Good Sam is a plodding, okay-ish, feel-good film by numbers. Directed by Kate Melville, the film is competently lensed without ever being exciting. The acting is good even if the casting is not particularly inspiring. 

    Tiya Sircar – so much better in The Good Place – as Kate, is nice enough and probably the only cast choice that is not an easy, stereotypical, pick. The dark-haired, suave, Mark Grazzini as Jack, turning out to be a bit of a cad and the blonde, fit, roguishly handsome Chad Connell as Eric, is casting out of the colour propaganda playbook. 

      Beside the uninspired casting, the film, a rom-com, feel-good effort, is neither funny or well written enough to be emotive. The actors have to work too hard to inject life into the characters, with some scenes put in simply to show what a good or bad person someone is. The film is horribly predictable, not really a problem in a rom-com, it is not as though you expect surprises, but it is predictable to the point of boredom. 

    Good Sam is a ninety minute waste of time and effort. It is not bad enough to be entertaining on any level, it is just bland and boring. Not very Good Sam.  

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