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The Center of the World (2001)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  18 May 2001 (Italy)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 3,919 users   Metascore: 44/100
Reviews: 68 user | 66 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he's a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a dot.com millionaire, she's a lap dancer at a club. He's depressed, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Porter
...
Richard Longman
...
Florence
Karry Brown ...
Lap Dancer
...
Pandora Stripper
Mel Gorham ...
Roxanne
Lisa Newlan ...
Porn Site Woman
Jason McCabe ...
Pete (as Jason Mccabe Calacanis)
Travis Miljan ...
Dog Owner
Jerry Sherman ...
Old Man
...
Jerri
...
Taxi Driver
...
Brian Pivano
Robert Lefkowitz ...
Motel Manager
John Lombardo ...
Gondolier
Edit

Storyline

A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he's a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a dot.com millionaire, she's a lap dancer at a club. He's depressed, withdrawing from work, missing meetings with investors. He wants a connection, so he offers her $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Vegas, and she accepts with conditions: four hours per night of erotic play, and no penetration. During the days in Vegas, they get to know each other, have fun, meet a friend of hers; at night, at least after the first night, things seem to get complicated. Is mutual attraction stirring? Will they play by their rules? Can it be about more than money? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 May 2001 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

A világ közepe  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$67,809 (USA) (20 April 2001)

Gross:

$1,096,037 (USA) (13 July 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Jerri is yelling at Florence in the hotel room, the crew and equipment are reflected in the mirror. See more »

Quotes

Florence: You can't buy my feelings, you can't pay to make me love you.
Richard Longman: But we are people, aren't we? And people feel things, don't they?
Florence: I'm your whore.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Extremes (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Sinhala
Performed by Banco de Gaia
Courtesy of Gecko Records and Six Degrees Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Center Staged
17 June 2002 | by (North Dakota) – See all my reviews

Although more infamous for its sex scenes than its acting and

direction, Wayne Wang does marvels with a digital camera and his

actors in a very good independent film.

This is an adult film, so some of the descriptions in this review

may not be for young eyes. Peter Sarsgaard is Richard, a young

computer genius worth a million or so who takes a liking to

Florence, played by Molly Parker. They decide to take a trip to Las

Vegas together, with Richard paying for everything, and some

harsh guidelines set up by Florence: no kissing on the mouth,

together for just four hours every night, and no actual sexual

penetration. Goofy Richard goes along with the demands, and the

two skip town to Vegas. Richard is skipping more than just town,

his computer business is about to go IPO, and his partner can not

seem to get a hold of him.

Florence and Richard settle into a routine, and try to get to know

each other after being so intimate physically. Richard's love for

Florence is obvious, but slowly Florence begins to have feelings

for Richard that are not of the usual prostitute/john type. Carla

Gugino flashes in as one of Florence's screwed up friends, who

notices a change in Florence when she is with Richard. Eventually,

the couple begin breaking their rules, and the climactic sex scene

brings out everyone's true colors on the future of the relationship.

The title of the film is interesting in that Richard thinks the center of

the world is his computer, and Florence thinks it is a female's

sexual organs. Eventually in the film, Florence's definition seems

to be decided on, with Richard using his Center (money wise) to

get to her Center.

The film treads through the familiar sexual obsession territory, but

without going to the lengths that have been touched on in dozens

of late night Showtime and Sinemax series and made for cable

fodder. Richard is a genuine babe in the woods, trying to project a

dangerous side, when in fact he is a nice guy who wants to help

people. Try and keep track of how many times he asks Florence

and others if they are okay or all right.

Florence is a great character, unable to contain her growing

emotional attachment, so she uses her own body as a wall to

Richard's love. You find yourself wishing these two screwed up

people would get it together, but the ending leaves it up in the air

without being too frustrating.

If anything, I sometimes found the sex to get in the way of the plot.

Both people share innocuous stories from their past, then follow

through with kinky sexual acts, but I deemed more from the

stories.

Wang does a great job with the digital camera. He is respectful of

his actors, not getting into everyone's face because he has the

technology to, but he stays close enough to give the audience a

voyeuristic feeling in the hotel room scenes. While some scenes

run long here and there, I found the two main characters so

different and so interesting, I did not mind the slow spots.

There is a lot of sex and nudity here, but only one very brief scene

set in a strip club constitutes anything you would normally see in a

porno. This is the kind of film Roger Ebert has been screaming

about for years, demanding a new "A" for Adult rating that would be

higher than an "R," but not quite a porno either. The "NC17" blew

up in the MPAA's face, as it replaced the "X," it did not fall just

below it.

"The Center of the World" is just less than an hour and a half long,

but speaks volumes about its characters. I enjoyed it more than I

thought I would, I am still smarting from sitting through Wang's

"Chan is Missing," one of the most dull, overcelebrated, and

pointless films ever made. He has come a long way, and I highly

recommend this effort.

This is unrated, and contains some sexual violence, strong

profanity, very strong female nudity, strong male nudity, very strong

sexual content, brief pornographic sexual content, very strong

sexual references, drug abuse, and strong adult situations.


35 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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