8 November 2001 | bob the moo
Harsh comedy that almost succeeds
Chad (Aaron Eckhart) and Howard (Matt Malloy) are in a new town for 6 weeks on business. Frustrated by the women in their lives they decide to use the time to seduce an insecure woman and make her feel loved - only to destroy her before they leave. They pick Christine (Stacy Edwards), a deaf girl from their office and set the plan in motion.
This is a fascinating black comedy looking at the macho world of American businessmen - although it is a look at the shallowness and competitiveness of men generally. The plot may sound simple but it is very powerful and insightful - although the men are exaggerated versions of reality in order to make clear points. The film doesn't totally satisfy but it is a great character piece.
Almost to a man the leads are all excellent, Eckhart is almost pure evil as the man who we all recognise or know, while Malloy is great as the man who wants to be in the game but is getting to the point where he longs for simpler values. Edwards is beautiful as the vulnerable Christine who gradually opens up with confidence as she is made to feel more and more special.
Labate's direction is spot on for this - most of the action is dialogue based and the sets are made like theatre sets. As such the direction is quite static but the camera is often set in very interesting shots. Labate's writing is the real strength with the whole dialogue strong, perhaps exaggerated and yet totally believable.
A wonderfully harsh drama that will make you aware that will carry you along effortlessly.