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Money Can Buy Me Love

Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
15 February 2012

A man goes into a bar and gets into a conversation with a woman. The topic turns to sex and he asks her "Do you think that you would sleep with a man if he offered you a million pounds?" After some consideration she replies "Yes, I think I would".

"So would you sleep with me for a fiver?"

"Certainly not. What sort of girl do you think I am?"

"We've already established that. All we're doing now is haggling over the price".

"Indecent Proposal" is a film loosely based upon that old joke. David and Diana Murphy are a married couple, the sort of people who at the time would have been described as yuppies. He is an architect, she a real estate broker, and both are living the Californian yuppie dream until the early nineties recession hits them hard. Hoping to recoup their finances they travel to Las Vegas, only to lose all of their savings. And here comes that joke. They meet a billionaire named John Gage who is attracted to the lovely Diana (hardly surprising, given that she is played by Demi Moore) and offers David one million dollars to spend a night with her. After much consideration, and after hiring their lawyer to draw up a contract, David and Diana decide to accept the offer, and Gage flies Diana to a private yacht where the dirty deed is consummated. Gage is as good as his word, and the money is duly paid into David's bank account, but the couple gradually realise that the arrangement has placed an intolerable strain on their relationship.

This was one of a number of "erotic dramas" which came out in the late eighties and early nineties. ("Fatal Attraction", also directed by Adrian Lyne, and "Basic Instinct" are others of the same kind). I call them "erotic" not in the sense that they are pornographic- "Indecent Proposal" only contains one, not very explicit, love scene- but in the sense that they deal frankly with sexual topics. In some respects the film can also be seen as a variation on the standard romantic comedy theme. Most romantic comedies tell the story of how a couple fall in love and of they overcome any obstacles to that love. "Indecent Proposal" tells the story of a couple who start off in love, of how they fall out of love, and of how their love is rekindled.

The film was a box office success, but received mostly negative reviews from critics, and even won the "Worst Picture" Razzie award for 1993. This surprised me: "Indecent Proposal" is far from being a great film, but I cannot for the life of me see how it could be regarded as worse than Madonna's execrable semi-pornographic vanity project "Body of Evidence". (Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how any film not directed by Ed Wood could have been worse than "Body of Evidence").

Of the film's three main stars, Moore is probably the best; although she is not as good as she had been in some of her other films from the early nineties such as "Ghost" and "A Few Good Men" she still succeeds in making Diana an attractive heroine. (There is also an amusing cameo from Oliver Platt as the Murphy's grasping lawyer). Woody Harrelson, however, is too stiff and awkward as David, not giving much expression to the emotional turmoil which a character in his position would have faced. My only objection to Harrelson's "Worst Supporting Actor" Razzie was that, as the film's principal male character, his was a leading role and he should have been nominated for "Worst Actor" instead.

if Harrelson had been nominated for "Worst Actor", he would have had to compete for this dubious honour with his co-star Robert Redford. (In the event, Redford lost out to Burt Reynolds). Still displaying, in a slightly ravaged form, the good looks which had made him a matinée idol in the earlier part of his career, Redford's casting in the role of Gage drew numerous comments from women of a certain age along the lines of "I would sleep with him for free, never mind a million dollars". Unfortunately, this is one of his films in which Redford seems content to coast along on looks and smooth charm alone without putting much effort into his role. We never really find out what motivates Gage- love for Diana, lust for her or simply the desire to test, as an intellectual proposition, his theory that, the Beatles and popular opinion notwithstanding, money can indeed buy me love- although this may be as much the fault of the scriptwriter as of Redford.

Although "Indecent Proposal" was intended as a serious treatment of its theme rather than a humorous one, the plot bears a certain resemblance to that of a comedy from the previous year, "Honeymoon in Vegas" in which an unsuccessful Las Vegas gambler loses his girl to a wealthy high roller and then has to win her back. This is, in fact, the sort of story which would have worked better as a comedy, its central idea being too improbable to be credible in the context of a serious drama. In real life billionaires, however eccentric, do not generally offer happily married women, however attractive, a million dollars for sex. It is not, in my view, an outstandingly bad film; Lyne is a reasonably competent director and tells his story efficiently enough. It is just not a very good one. 5/10

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Interesting Premise That Turns Into Disaster

Author: Desertman84 from United States
13 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Indecent Proposal is a film, based on the novel of the same name by Jack Engelhard about a handsome billionaire who offers a young couple $1 million to spend one night with his wife.It stars Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson.Adrian Lyne,the directs the film.

In the storyline,Diana and David Murphy, high-school sweethearts who recently got married.They are doing very well -- Diana is a successful real-estate agent, and David is an idealistic architect who has built a dream house by the ocean -- until the recession hits. Suddenly, David loses his job, and they can't make the mortgage payments. Dead broke, they borrow $5000 from David's father and head to Las Vegas to try to win money to pay the mortgage on their house. At first, they get $25,000 ahead -- but inevitably the house always wins, and they end up losing it all. While Diana is in the fancy casino boutique trying to lift some candy, she is spotted by billionaire John Gage, who is immediately attracted to her. John invites Diana and David to an opulent party, and it is there that John offers David $1 million for a night with his wife. David is wrecked by this moral dilemma, but Diana finally makes the decision on her own, with ensuing consequences for their ideal marriage and their bank account.

The film has an interesting premise.Unfortunately,it turns into a disaster especially after in the events after Diana agrees to sleep with billionaire,John Gage.Lyne's direction becomes formulaic and contrived.The romances between the young couple loses focus and the billionaire suddenly gives up in her interest to the attractive wife to give the story a happy ending.Too bad that the only positive note in the ludicrous but commercially successful movie is the solid performances from Redford,Moore and Harrelson.

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Movie Review 'The Indecent Proposal'

Author: jackrayen from India
22 July 2011

I know its very very late. But after reading the garbage review done by this senseless, ignorant, self styled movie guru, I have to counter the view.

Ladies and Gentlemen this movie, in a very simple way scratch your conscience and ask you the same question. Will you swap your love for money. To make the subject more viable and presentable the director and story writer has taken their artistic liberty and hit our lowest animal instinct. The privilege of sex with our wife. Will you trade it for money? Countless women and men had this nightmare after watching the movie and this is the success of the director. He has succeeded in shaking us, opening our eyes to the materialistic world we are living in and shown us that how people can stoop so low to gain money. Now let us talk about the characterization. Mr Redford is a wealthy lonely man with supposedly golden heart. But like all wealthy man (read filthy rich) he likes to wield the power of money. He has already seen Ms Moor stealing candies, so being a very intelligent man (you don't imaging he achieved all that wealth without the power of judgement) he rightly judge that Ms Moor is more susceptible to money. And yet he is subtle. He plays his card perfectly. He shows his disregard to losing that large sum of money. Then borrow Ms Moor as the lucky mascot and allows her to play with one million dollar worth of markers. A little luck and he wins or rather she wins one million for him.

Now next step is to seduce her with money. So he present them one night in that luxurious hotel room. Off course she want more of this life. Thats the whole purpose of putting them in that luxury room. So when he offers one million dollar for one night stand, it is she who is dumbstruck, not the husband. It is she who prepare her husband to accept the offer. Remember what she said 'I don't want to do it. But I will do it for You.' Thats a women at her best. She wants to do it, but let us husband thinks that its a sacrifice she is willing to make so they can realize their dream.

No sir, she is the one who wants to do it. And Redford clearly sees that. He exploits this weak link and get what he wants. He shows her that he knows who made the decision and why. But again he is subtle. He covers the bitter pill with sugar. Any women will fall for such man who knows her but covers her faults. So she falls and falls deeply. It was not sex with a whore. She was the willing partner. You can see her approaching for Redford's lips. She wants it, because now she knows the luxury and wants to be a part of it.(remember he has flown her to his yatch, and not the hotel bed).

In the end the director mercifully reunites the husband and wife because thats the moral a good story must have. Marriage is the fiber of society which binds us together. The director didn't show the 99.9% reality and taken the moral stand, and I thank him for this.

And don't forget to look in the eyes of Redford. He says so much with his eyes. He is not a bad man. He just shows a greedy outspoken women who pretends and declare that she cant be bought where she is dying to be bought.

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Watchable, despite the fact that it runs out of steam

Author: Samiam3 from Canada
2 September 2010

David and Diana Murphy are about to loose their home. In an attempt to get some money, they go to Vegas where they meet billionaire John Gage. He offers them a million dollars for one night with the missus. Unwillingly they agree, but when Diana returns David suspects she is hiding something.

What I have just described is the first hour of Indecent Proposal.It's a pretty good start, but the remaining hour, regardless of whether it is loyal or disloyal to the novel is a solid example of not -so-solid storytelling. It becomes rather pointless and dull.

Indecent Proposal is driven not so much by its story but by the interactions between the three leads. Though the performance quality is nothing special, Woody Harrelson, Robert Redford, and Demi Moore all have a good screen presence. There is also a charming little appearance by Billy Conoly as himself near the end. I always get a kick out of him.

In the end, Indecent Proposal stands as watchable but very lame. It is a steamer that runs out of steam and sort of leaves the viewer adrift on the river not really going anywhere fast. It is not an easy recommendation, unless you have a thing for erotic B-movies.

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Interesting film

Author: norakecer from France
31 May 2010

Indecent proposal is an interesting film maybe no the best but still a very good film. First of all, unlike mentioned in some reviews I don't think Robert Redford was miscast because according to some reviewers that he was too handsome for the role so any woman would sleep with him anyway even for free. The interesting thing for me : Yes Robert Redford is devastatingly handsome even aged in his fifties in this film but Diana and David are very much in love but totally broke and they need the money desperately.

Why it is interesting ? because I think that Robert Redford as John Gage should be able to have all the women he wants without paying anything - The main point is that John GAGE wants Diana and no one else : something clicked inside him when he first saw her in the shop.It was not only a sexual attraction but also a strong feeling for her. The fact that he is handsome is interesting because you feel at the beginning of the film that David could be jealous of John Gage not only because of his money but also because of Gage's looks and great presence. David is aware of that and I believe is worried that Diana could be attracted to him as well from a romantic point of view. And he's right because Diana is attracted to John GAGE maybe not consciously at the beginning but she is later in the film when she realizes that he is a real gentle man looking for love. Actually she would like to hate him but she can't.

That's why it is hard for Diana to talk about her fateful night with . John Gage when David asked her. If John Gage was portrayed as a bad-looking,rough guy, it might have been much easier for Diana to do it for money no risk then to feel attracted to the guy or to fall in love with him because it would be just sex and - that's all -no feelings involved.

No risks at all so no interests, no suspense in the film.The film wouldn't be as interesting as it is. As for John GAGE,we know that he wanted to prove to David and Diana that everything could be bought, even people but he also realizes that feelings cannot be bought as he wanted Diana to love him like she loves David. It's an interesting film from different point of views.

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Uneven but makes good points about jealousy and trust

Author: shmucking from United States
7 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film is at it's best in the scenes where Woody Harrelson is feeling jealous about Demi Moore's lovemaking with Robert Redford. When he's struggling with his obsessions about it, there is a certain validity that rings true, and he has a great scene near the end where he tells Moore that he was insecure about himself, but isn't anymore. The romance between Harrelson and Moore has a genuine quality that is sweet and sincere.

There are problems, however, with Redford's character and Redford himself. Moore is so obviously not attracted to Redford that their romantic scenes together look uncomfortable. Her character is supposed to be attracted to him, but it isn't convincing. You can tell she's turned off by him, and when she kisses him, she looks like she's kissing her dad. Redford plays the role with his usual mellow likability and smoothness, but it doesn't match the character he's playing. It doesn't seem believable that he'd offer money to sleep with someone's wife. He seems too easy-going and amiable to make such an offer. It seems like Redford is having fun playing the role, and being a good sport about it, but not really connecting with the darker side of the character. Overall, an interesting film with some valid comments about overcoming jealousy and having trust in the love you share with your partner, but it falls short of being truly successful.

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Really good movie

Author: Debashish Kumar from Australia
8 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Have I watched a different movie? I am really shocked to see such a good movie get only 5.3 stars. Plot? Good Acting? Good Direction? Good

The conflict in the minds of both the D's is shown very well.The night they cant sleep, they talk about it, they try to justify it because they know that it will take all their troubles away. It was very important that their financial crises was shown properly otherwise neither would have considered the deal. And it was. Maybe the lines "Did I ever tell you I love you......" are a little cheesy, but every couple has some...and they had theirs. The criticism I have read is rather empty. You can't rate a movie bad just because it's depressing. Did The Godfather get you all pumped up to join the mafia or what? Some people are cursing the billionaire. It couldn't be clearer that he DID care for her. He cared for her enough to barge into her class, to get her to show him some properties,cared for her enough to let her go (maybe the reason was also partially selfish, still) all he wanted was a chance. Being a billionaire and someone who is used to getting what he wants, he made the "Indecent Proposal" and pursued her till she gave into him. People are saying that there's no message in the movie. The simplest message was that when you marry someone, you promise to take care of them. D failed to do that and left a big scar on his marriage. But because their love was true, she came back to him."If you let go off of something and it never comes back to you, then it was never truly yours to begin with "...(or something like that)...

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A lost opportunity

Author: ecjones1951 from United States
29 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've always had problems with the title. The word "indecent" means immodest, obscene; unfit for society. When used these days, the word is almost invariably followed by "exposure." "Audacious Proposal" would have made more sense.

The premise is well-known by now, and presents opportunities to muse about the relevance of marital fidelity, personal scruples, and the seductive and emotional power of money, but it sidesteps, muddies or ignores every one of them. It could have addressed any or all of them and still be entertaining and a conversation starter.

Billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford) offers one million dollars to a struggling couple, Diana and David Murphy (Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson), if he can sleep with her for one night. The proposal is intrepid, adventurous and bold, but it is not indecent. Diana accepts the offer and follows through with the assignation, all the while reminding David that she is doing it for him, to further his career as an architect. I suppose her oft-repeated declaration is meant to show us that yes Diana does too have scruples. See? she can call upon them whenever she wants to.

Diana's tight-lipped and blithe insouciance once the tryst is history and the money is in the bank drives David out of his mind. Director Adrian Lyne wisely keeps Diana's and Gage's night on the yacht out of camera range. (Seeing the hideous gray dress he asks her to wear is enough.) It's too bad he didn't do the same with David's petulance, self-pity and masochism, which overshadows everything else in the second act. David is supposed to be a bright and promising architect whose marriage to Diana is solid as a rock. Of course, the only way we know this is through a lightning fast exposition of their courtship and marriage, told mostly through photos shot with a lens metaphorically coated in Vaseline. In "Love Story," Jenny reminded Oliver many times that "love means never having to say you're sorry." These two like to ask each other the equally inane, "have I ever told you that I love you?"

When Demi Moore gives the best performance in a movie, that's saying something. Although Diana is an underwritten role, the character isn't maddeningly one-note like those of David and Gage. She is two-dimensional, which is as fleshed out as any Lyne character ever gets. Lyne is no more secure in his leading lady's acting abilities than most other directors, so he gives her the expected opportunities to show some skin. Sketchy roles never seem to allow Moore any freedom; she tends to hem herself in. But someone has to restrain themselves in the aftermath of Diana's night on the yacht. As noted, David has gone to pieces with rage and jealousy. Diana cannot deal with his meltdown; his suspicions, leading questions and accusations drive her away.

Meanwhile, John Gage is waiting for Diana around every corner. He is essentially stalking her, but his behavior is supposed to come off as charming. When she, on the other hand -- with good reason -- crashes one of Gage's business luncheons, it's cause for alarm; Diana's behavior is "inappropriate" and unacceptable. This is a double standard Hollywood reinforces over and over again. But soon Diana puts up only token resistance to Gage's pursuit. She didn't when he offered her and David that lifetime of financial security with but one little catch.

Diana eventually caves in, and she and Gage get busy making the social rounds. What they find to talk about is anyone's guess, but Moore and Redford do make for an attractive couple. The passage of time is indicated by David and Diana's both getting teaching jobs. He teaches architecture and suggests bricks are blessed with self-determination. I told you he went nuts after Diana slept with Gage. For her part, Diana teaches U.S. citizenship. Her pupils, all well into adulthood, giggle like 8-year-olds when Gage crashes the class to declare he's crazy about Diana. Even though she has divorced David, her days with Gage as an item at gala openings and silly charity functions are numbered. The time comes for Diana to go back to David, having learned what, exactly? "Have I ever told you I loved you?" "Would we have been able to handle the million bucks any better if we'd earned it?" The credits roll before they begin to figure this out.

I want scriptwriters to STOP recycling Mr. Bernstein's anecdote about the girl on the Jersey ferry from "Citizen Kane." Gage gets to give that little speech here, adapted for modern times. The problem is, the conclusion he wants Diana to draw from it is exactly the opposite of what he says.

"Indecent" describes the amount of money the picture took in at the box office -- about $199,000.000 more worldwide than Gage offers the Murphys. If this is Lyne's idea of a "message picture," as they used to call them, he should have used FedEx.

It's much more fun to write about a middling movie than a great one or even a very bad one.

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No Great Surprises

Author: gcd70 from Melbourne, Australia
11 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Adrian Lyne, who so successfully chilled us with "Fatal Attraction", has this time come to challenge us with "Indecent Proposal".

Robert Redford is John Gage, the multi-millionaire who offers David Murphy (Woody Harrelson) one million dollars for one night with the latter's wife (Demi Moore). The question is, what will they do? Suffice to say the young couple show little morality (and even less sense) as they allow money to spoil their wonderful relationship. Although I was disappointed with the character's respective actions and reactions, the film does teach an all too obvious lesson on the perils of mixing love and money.

No great surprises, and cynics won't appreciate the ending, but the cast are competent in a fairly good movie.

Friday, May 14, 1993 - Knox District Centre

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Money vs love

Author: Michael Papalabrou (nautilus_gr)
11 May 2002

Even though the main story is about something that is not very likely to happen, this film has a strange way to approach real life and bring it so realistic to the screen. What we see in the film is the everyday life of a couple that has to work in order to live. And they do, and they are happy, until the day they experience an 'earthquake' in their relationship. The earthquake is Robert Redford's indecent proposal.

Apart from bringing in an incredibly realistic way the dilemma they have in front of them, the film also shows many ways in which a person can express love to another person; it can be done by fighting, by talking, by understanding, by appreciating, by thinking. But, what about money; and, especially when we are talking about people who live without lots of it.

When you see this film and the story ends, you will find yourself thinking. I cannot predict what you'll be thinking, but I am sure that after you see the end of the film, you'll think about it for some time.

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