So, Sunday night I had a cheese and potato pie all to myself, plus a couple of shandies, and watched two films.
Ewan McGregor is lowly auditor Jonathan, befriended by top dog lawyer Wyatt (Hugh Jackman). They do lunch together, they smoke pot, they play racquet ball, or something. And when Wyatt goes off to Paris on business, Jonathan ‘accidentally’ ends up with his mobile, and that is when he learns about ‘the list’. Apparently hot shot Wall Street women don’t have time to date like the rest of us and are much too classy to call on the services of male escorts, and so they are all signed up to the list and can dial up a man from their own social strata whenever they get ‘urges’. It’s all very discreet, and no names are exchanged. Jonathan throws himself into this life of unbridled lust, until he meets Michelle Williams (her name begins with S), and falls in love with her, as you do, which is when the other shoe drops, and we discover what canny viewers have suspected all along, that Wyatt is not who he claims to be and his interest in Jonathan is a bit more than male bonding.
And from here on in it’s an entirely predictable by the numbers thriller, though the label ‘thriller’ is an exaggeration for dramatic effect. Wyatt has designs on Jonathan’s accounts. S is in league with Wyatt, but she’s been won over by Jonathan’s boyish charms. Jonathan is dead, and then he isn’t. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Yep, lots of spoilers, I am a bad person, but if you don’t figure this stuff out within the first twenty minutes then you’re probably watching it too boozed up to care. It’s a film in which the beautiful people all look beautiful – and Maggie Q, Natasha Henstridge, Paz de la Huerta and Charlotte Rampling (drop dead gorgeous at sixty two) all get to show off their designer underwear – and Ewan McGregor again tries to act. It’s an eye candy movie, with Jackman for the ladies to look at, and other than that nothing to offer beyond an inoffensive, mildly amiable way to pass ninety minutes or so while you’re doing more interesting stuff, like eating a cheese and potato pie. But it was Oscar standard compared to what came next.
Murder Dot Com (2006)
Tina is an investment banker with a side line as a webcam girl, but all very tasteful, you understand – just flirting and pouting at the camera while wearing her skimpies – and she is disgusted at Man 46 who keeps asking her to masturbate on camera. As if. But Man 46 is security guard Robert, who is living alone in an abandoned town and has a nice padded room of his own. He’s been seeing a psychiatrist because he had an accident that has left him impotent, only he’s off his meds and has got it into his head that Tina is the one who can cure him, and so he abducts her and insists that she become his private dancer until he can rise to the occasion.
There’s more but you don’t want me to continue. Trust me on this. This film was simply dreadful, and you watch just to see how much worse it can get. Tina hits Robert upside the head with a barbell, she throws a pan of boiling water into his face, she breaks a bottle over his skull and then stabs him in the neck with the shards, but still the guy keeps coming. Jeff Doba as Robert is so far over the top that he’s probably running short of oxygen, and the whole thing with the impotence is nonsense (dude, repeat after me V-I-A-G-R-A, or if that doesn’t do the trick watch the Kylie Minogue Agent Provocateur video – always works for me when Little Pete is feeling out of sorts). And then there are some of the worst lines ever committed to celluloid. My ‘favourite’ is when Robert says to his psychiatrist ‘fuck you’ and the caring, sensitive doctor replies ‘Well that’s not going to happen, is it?’ Robert kills the guy later, but after that crack, justifiable homicide in my opinion. The plot has its crazy moments too. No, strike that. It’s all crazy, but there’s more devilment in some of the details than in others. The police can’t check out Man 46 because he operates through a post office box, and yet, their computer expert can cross check a list of subscribers to Tina’s website with lists of men who went to a particular college and those who work as security guards to come up with Robert’s name. Eh? And at the end Tina cuts her perfect face, as only by no longer being beautiful can she end Robert’s obsession. Actually that might have been a neat twist, if they hadn’t been so heavy handed about it all. And the whole thing seemed so loud – most DVDs I have to turn the sound up all the way, but not on this one.
There are only two things that puzzled me about this film – a)how it got made in the first place and b)when everything else is so naff how did they restrain themselves from calling the bad guy Man 69?