Liberace was an American pianist and entertainer well-known for his flamboyant lifestyle and the sense of grandiose he carried about with him. His personal life was embroiled in scandal with rumours of homosexuality which he vehemently denied. While everyone saw him as a figure of extravagance and individuality, behind closed doors was a turbulent relationship with a young chauffeur 39 years his junior. Scott Thorson became an important figure in Liberace's life; not only as a driver, but also like a son, a brother and a best friend. They embarked on a 5 year affair that saw Liberace persuade Scott into facial surgery to resemble himself, something which led to a desperate struggle with drugs on Scott's part and many a fiery argument between them. Just what was life for Liberace like behind the glitz and glamour of his luxurious existence?
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As far as the "story" can be described, Soderbergh himself (in his only starring role) plays Fletcher Munson, who works for the L. Ron Hubbard-like New Age prophet T. Azimuth Schwitters (Mike Malone). A pale-faced wage slave, Munson haunts his cubicle, doing nothing, and occasionally nipping off to the office bathroom to masturbate and make funny faces in the mirror. Meanwhile, there's some strange goings on involving bug exterminator Elmo Oxygen (David Jensen), who darts about the city in his jumpsuit and goggles, romancing housewives and speaking entirely in seemingly randomly-generated, Rorschach-blot dialogue ("nose army ... throbbing dust generation ... beef diaper"). Then, Soderbergh shows up playing the other major character, dentist Dr. Jeffrey Korchek, who, to be quite honest, isn't nearly as interesting as Munson, who at least gets to write reams of meaningless babble for Schwitters to spout in public. This sideline with Korchek doesn't distract much, though, from Elmo Oxygen's rants, or scenes of office politicking with Munson's co-worker, Nameless Numberhead Man - both hilarious in a Theater of the Absurd sort of way.
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