‘Most Guys Are Losers’: Boyfriend meets the Naperville parents in a sweet Midwestern rom-com
Predictable tale wins us over with breezy style and some familiar faces.
“The ’85 Bears, you recognize them?”
“Not all 85 of them.” – Exchange between a lifelong Chicagoan and sports fan and a visitor from California who’s not a big sports fan in “Most Guys Are Losers.”
Our 2022 tour of the greater Chicagoland area in movies and TV has entailed (deep breath) stops on the South Side for the AMC series “61st Street,” Rogers Park and Andersonville for the indie film “Relative,” the Loop and River North for the Hulu series “The Bear,” the Chicago of the early 1970s in the HBO documentary “The Janes,” Frankfort and Woodstock for the HBO show “Night Sky,” Little Village in the documentary “Skate or Die,” some exterior shots of Chicago for the “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “Ozark,” the Chicago Sun-Times of the early 1990s for the Apple TV+ series “Shining Girls,” a Chicago neighborhood tailor shop in the 1950s for the feature film “The Outfit.” And now, Naperville gets its due in the charming and low-key romantic comedy “Most Guys Are Losers.”
Gravitas Ventures presents a film written and directed by Eric Ustian. No MPAA rating. Running time: 88 minutes. Available now on demand.
Based on the 2015 book of the same name by pub owner Mark Berzins and adapted for the screen with an economic and breezy style by first-time feature director and Naperville native Eric Ustian, “Most Guys Are Losers” has an almost anachronistic storyline and a few subplots that stall the momentum, but it wins us over through its unapologetically sweet nature and the wonderful ensemble cast that includes some most welcome and very familiar faces as well as few promising newcomers. This is comfort viewing in the best sense of the term.
The terrific character actor Andy Buckley, best known for his recurring role as David Wallace on “The Office,” is Mark, a gruff but bighearted owner of a number of taverns in Naperville who has written a best-selling book titled “Most Guys Are Losers,” based on his years of observational experience from behind the bar. Mark is married to the lovely and supportive Amy (Mira Sorvino, rocking a Chicago-with-a-touch-of-Wisconsin accent), and their eldest daughter, Sandy (Grace Fulton, “Shazam”), a college student in California, is bringing home her boyfriend Bo (Michael Provost) for Thanksgiving. Imagine the pressure on poor Bo, as he’s going to have to win over his girlfriend’s pops, who literally wrote a book saying most guys suck!
With the invaluable Keith David providing his usual steady presence as Mark’s best friend, and Belmont Cameli playing the jock ex-boyfriend who Dad still favors, much of “Most Guys…” takes place on Black Wednesday at Frankie’s Blue Room in Naperville, where all sorts of comedic/dramatic revelations are unfurled and the meddling, disapproving Mark behaves like an overprotective sitcom dad from the 1980s.
Even as the plot roadblocks pile up, we know where the story is going, but that’s OK, as most everyone we meet (with one notable exception) has good intentions deep down inside. Also, Mira Sorvino’s dad Paul (you might have heard of him) eventually shows up to play Mira Sorvino’s dad on Thanksgiving Day, and he’s sporting a killer hat and an Italian accent and he’s ready to hoist a glass of red wine and make a toast, and if you’ve got Paul Sorvino at your Thanksgiving celebration in Naperville, that’s pretty great. Alla vostra salute!