The zesty, scandalous plot device at the center of the film and the sole reason the movie became a fairly big hit in 1993 can be summed up in one line: "Suppose... I were to offer you one million dollars for one night with your wife." And yes, that surface exposition is intriguing in its glossy, high-concept way. But in truth, the appeal of that tantalizing conundrum gets lost in a muddle of a screenplay that really is not about that spicy million-dollar offer, but rather a tepid, long-winded story of a relationship tested by temptation. In theory, the material could work. In practice, Indecent Proposal is a bland, melodramatic sit.
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Julia Verdin, Seymour Cassel and Jacqueline Bisset - Julia Verdin, Seymour Cassel and Jacqueline Bisset Beverly Hills, California - The BAFTA/LA Awards Season Tea Party held at the Beverly Hills Hotel - Arrivals Saturday 10th January 2009
Wendell Baker (Luke Wilson) has charm oozing from his pores but can't do much more than make friends with it. He makes fake IDs with his friend, Reyes (Jacob Vargas), for illegal aliens that just jumped the fence. Wendell also has a woman who loves him, but of course, he can't tell her he loves her back. That girl is Doreen (Eva Mendes), who runs into the arms of a grocery store owner (Ferrell) when Wendell gets sent away. When he returns, settled on getting his life straight and winning Doreen back. He is set up to work in an old folk's home, ample for his dreams of owning his own hotel one day. Trouble comes when he uncovers a scheme to fake old people's death and actually send them away to be slaves at a small farm house, owned by the mother of Neil King (Owen Wilson), the head nurse and a supreme sleaze bag. With the help of three wily retirees (Seymour Cassel, Harry Dean Stanton, and Kris Kristofferson), Wendell plans to win back the girl and uncover the scheme.
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The catch: Cassel's only doing it on a bet that he can turn any old jerk into the toast of the Cannes film festival.
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The movie begins with Jim's surprise arrival at his parents' house. His brother, Tim (Kevin Corrigan), still lives there but is less than pleased to see him. His mother, Sally (Mary Kay Place), is overjoyed but clueless as to Jim's unhappiness, even as he breaks down within minutes of walking through the door. And his father, Don (Seymour Cassel), in response to Jim's claim that his breakdown is due to "dehydration," simply suggests a cup of water.
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Beer League is a loose collection of threads of plot surrounding Artie: His baseball team is so rowdy they are threatened with expulsion from the league unless they can beat their arch-rivals. He's got girl trouble with "used goods" Linda (the impossibly gorgeous Cara Buono). And he's throwing a bachelor party, which is bound to get him into trouble.
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After seeing Steve Buscemi's sophomore directorial effort, Animal Factory (following 1996's Trees Lounge), I nearly reconsidered choosing film criticism as a career path. For the first hour of this film, it seemed the way to go was to become a convict. (By the way, ma, they don't call 'em inmates in the pen, they call 'em convicts.)
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Relax... It's Just Sex, on the other hand, is a more humble affair that presents seven or eight obvious gay stereotypes--lipstick lesbians, drama queens, muscle boys--and then tries to subvert them one by one with a whole lot of turbulent plotting and endless talk, some of it bitchily amusing but most of it, well, just talk.
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Manna From Heaven is the story of a Buffalo family who one day discover $20,000 "raining from heaven," wisely decide to split it up, and then go on their merry ways. A decade or so later, every last one of them has grown up to be a loser, having squandered his or her (mostly her) share of the loot. The lone exception is Theresa (Ursula Burton... well of course the good one is going to be played by a Burton sister!) who has become an ash-on-the-forehead nun. In fact, Theresa becomes convinced that the 20 grand of so long ago was not a gift but a loan, and that they must now "pay it back."
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Amusing enough, and a quick read. And Fast Sofa, the movie, keeps the guts of this road trip intact -- enough to realize that our pal Rick is on a real road to nowhere. Jake Busey makes for a creepy and considerably miscast hero, though Jennifer Tilly's wanton Ginger is enough fun for the both of them. Stealing the show, however, is Crispin Glover, as a shut-in sophisticate named Julian who tags along on the latter half of Rick's abortive journey. His outfit alone is reason enough to rent the tape.
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