Monday, September 6, 2010

Middle Men (Rhoades)

“Middle Men” Meet Porn Stars

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

For several years my associates and I produced Key West’s official Fantasy Fest video. The formula was simple: Hire a pretty celeb to comment on all the festivities – wild parties, creative costumes, dare-to-be-bare bodypainting, and the outrageous parade.

First year we brought in Traci Bingham, the “Baywatch” star. The next we imported Joanna Krupa, the world’s sexiest swimsuit model according to Playboy (you saw her recently on TV’s “Dancing With the Stars”).

The third year we hired Melissa Wolf, the most photographed Penthouse Pet. A pretty blonde with perky boobs, Melissa brought along a couple of girlfriends. She was a great host for the video, no holds barred. The film crew had fun with her and her pals, wrapping the shoot with a houseboat party that featured dancing, swimming, and topless sunbathing.

The following week Melissa was arrested for posting an offer on her website that she’d spend a sex-filled weekend with you for $10,000. She was dubbed “The Mansion Madam,” for she lived in an expensive house in a gated golfing community near Atlanta. One of her girlfriends hid out at my house to avoid arrest.

Wow! Little did I ever expect to be aiding and abetting hookers. Even nice ones.

That’s kinda the theme of “Middle Men,” the new indie film that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema. A mild-manner nerd invents a billing system for adult websites and next thing he know he’s surrounded by gangsters, porn stars, federal agents, and a situation beyond his wildest dreams.

Luke Wilson (“Old School,” “My Super Ex-girlfriend”) plays Jack Harris, a straight-laced businessman who finds himself caught between a porn star and the FBI. Even his becoming wealthy in the process is not enough to keep him out of hot water.

Giovanni Ribisi (“Avatar,” “Public Enemies”) and Gabriel Macht (“The Spirit,” “The Good Shepard”) co-star as the two geeks who help him invent the way that pornography is sold online. As the movie promos promise, this is the tale of “the guys who brought XXX to the www.”

This “true story” is based on the experiences of the film’s producer, Christopher Mallick. “I think the parts of the film that are most true would be Luke Wilson’s character and that would be me,” says Mallick. “The other roles are really composites of various people I’ve known over the years doing business.”

He admits, “Some of the events are made up, but some of them are based in a bit of truth and I think what we’ve been saying is that 80 percent of the film is pretty accurate. The 20 percent that’s not, we want to leave that to the audience to figure out.”

Mallick describes the film as “ultimately a tale of a guy trying to come home, a tale of redemption, and a story of hypocrisy.”

The script attracted a great supporting cast: James Caan, Robert Forster, Kevin Pollak, Terry Crews, and Kelsey Grammer.

The moral – uh, make that “the message” – of “Middle Men”? It’s that “business is a lot like sex: getting in is easy, pulling out is hard.”

Christopher Mallick still owns an Internet billing company.
[from Solares Hill]

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