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Wayne Beering and Buck Dolby are drugged out geniuses with lots of ideas but they can never seem to get their act together. But when they come up with the idea to create a porn site - and charge for it (the first ever site to do so), their idea may be too lucrative for them to handle. Straight-laced business man, Jack Harris, is brought in to team up with them and turn their profitable idea into a legit business. Making money in the pornography industry is pretty easy, but staying true to yourself when surrounded by that much wealth, luxury, sex, crime and temptations, is much harder. Written by
I didn't really know what I was getting into when I decided to watch Middle Men. It turned out it was a bittersweet experience of a story that could've really been better, with a leading man that portrays a mesmerizing central figure and holds this loose tale together.
This crime/drama/comedy deals with the beginnings of the internet porn business, a subject of some interest as are most things innovative. Basically, two wild cards have this great idea and they need a man to run it for them in a mix with Russian flavor, crooked lawyers and national sympathy. Luke Wilson portrays the honorable "middle man" Jack Harris, whose inner conflict is really the main attraction here. It may not be something fundamentally new, this rift between morality and anything morally debatable like porn, nor the character type, but in a world that has lost all balance, Jack Harris is the sober rock that it revolves around. Yet, the glamor is not being denied, the things that drive you one way or the other, and thanks to Luke Wilson's performance it gives you something to hold on to.
Unfortunately, the film is mostly flimsy otherwise, despite the considerable (and generally underused) talents of Giovanni Ribisi being added to familiar faces such as James Caan, Kevin Pollack, Terry Crews and Rade Serbedzija. A quite genuine example of typecasting, now that I think of it. I'm sure a more experienced director (not only age-wise) would've lent a much firmer, grittier feeling to the movie, which is too explanatory when it need not be and too safe when it should go all out. Somehow it reminded me of Herzog's remake of The Bad Lieutenant, in the sense that that film went overboard in ludicrous ways, but knowing its condition helped it attain a consistent degree of entertainment.
So I come to conclude that Middle Men does not quite know what it wants to be and that's a drawback. However, there are still some good moments in the film that complement Luke Wilson's performance, even beyond the subject at hand. Overall, it's just enjoyable enough for me to recommend it, for whatever that's worth.
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