Middle Men

17 Jan

Director: George Gallo

Writers: George Gallo, Andy Weiss

Stars: Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht

Motion Picture Rating: R

Runtime: 105 minutes

 

 

Although released in cinemas on a limited basis across Europe more than a year ago, I just came across this film for the first time on DVD. That suggests a lack of confidence on the part of its distributors which surprises me considering the story and the cast. This is an ‘inspired by true events’ comedy drama about the early days of the internet porn industry.

The film moves between the mid 1990’s and 2004 as it follows the exploits of a business fixer called Jack Harris (Luke Wilson). He mentors a couple of oddball chancers that have stumbled upon a way to discreetly process online credit card payments. With Jack’s direction their code soon sits behind hundreds of the earliest internet porn sites and the three partners make an enormous amount of money. The two inventors also work through a mountain of drugs and women whilst Jack tries gamely to maintain his family lifestyle.

Jack’s extraordinary, and supposedly true, story sits at the heart of this film. His character provides the film’s voiceover. That mechanism can be ‘cheap’ at times and adds to the nagging sense of TV movie about the overall production. However, the acting is solid, the film nods to Boogie Nights and to Casino with certain set pieces, and the story throws up some nice dark humour. It also has James Caan putting in an excellent cameo as a sleazy Vegas lawyer.

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