Good Sam (2019)

“This could make a really compelling story.”

An hour and a half long, feel-good mystery movie that’s almost laughably solvable within the first 10 minutes, Good Sam has to be the most predictable and dreadful Netflix original released so far this year. It’s a newsroom drama lacking intrigue and resolve, a blind date romance lacking credible sparks, and a comedy utterly devoid of anything resembling an honest laugh. Good Sam admirably tries to spread a lovingly concerned mentality, but it’s hard to learn a valuable lesson from the kind of careless teacher who can’t be taken seriously.

While she isn’t the station’s lead reporter, Kate Bradley (Tiya Sircar, doing her best to elevate a dull script) works hard and works late with the aspirations of one day attaining the top position, and is now frequently tasked with shooting segments to fill up the “bummer beat” parts of the newscast. Her father is Senator Ashok Bradley (Ivan Smith) and he wishes she’d delve into the political realm, maybe even consider dating the prominent businessman Jack Hansen (Marco Grazzini), so clean cut and pristine that you can tell he’s being groomed for some type of future office. Kate stumbles upon a new story worth chasing about an anonymous man leaving $100,000 in bags on a doorstep. Then more and more people get the exact same amount. Apparently money doesn’t grow on trees but it can appear out of thin air. It’s practically Christmas in July.

While on assignment and getting too close to a massive fire to get the first look, Kate is saved by firefighter Eric Hayes (Chad Connell), a kind man who’d rather avert attention for heroics than seek it out. Meanwhile, “Good Sam” as he’s aptly coined, continues random drop-offs with the same large sums of cash. The feel-good headline takes over the city and consumes Kate, who’s been replaced by a senior reporter because the story she initially broke has gone viral. There isn’t much else to Good Sam, a witless movie that equates to a super catchy caption with a bunch of garbled blurbs and meaningless info filling in the fine print below.

The most glaring problem with Good Sam is that the movie exploits honest journalism to tell an inherently dishonest story – or one that’s at the very least deceptively cunning – and it only discredits the field’s professionalism with hackneyed caricatures behind the scenes and unconvincing reporting in front of the camera. It’s strange how some of the most middling Hallmark Christmas movies get by purely on charm and personality and because they offer some fake semblance of warmth, yet they’re normally watchable. The same can’t be said for this Netflix movie, a film that looks like one of those ultra low-budget TV productions that’s been told in the iciest of fashions, and a story that’s as dumb as a box of rocks. Good Sam hopes that we’ll be inspired to pay it forward after watching the film. If only it weren’t gifting us such blatant counterfeit bills.

“It’s manipulative. Can’t you see that?”

Rating: 1 out of 5

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