Porn News

Roger Ebert Reviews Middle Men

Roger Ebert writes: One thing that writer-director George Gallo’s “Middle Men” makes you realize as you watch this fast-paced and intriguing film: Just how quickly the Internet has changed the world and how people can get their hands on all kinds of material.

Of course in this case we’re talking about pornography — something not really available via cyberspace until two bumbling, drug-addled low-lifes — with an admittedly pioneering understanding of early online technology — stumbled on a simple, yet brilliant concept.

Barely more than a decade ago, consumers of porn really had to go out and buy magazines or tapes of dirty movies, in order to get stimulated, so to speak.

In “Middle Men,” based on the true story of the men who brought prurient purpose to the Internet, we are made witness to a fascinating journey that takes a once-legitimate Texas businessman down a path he never would have dreamed he’d follow.

Luke Wilson plays Jack Harris, who kicks things off by narrating the storyline of how the men he frequently calls “two idiots” came up with a plan that eventually would intersect with his once-pristine, family man-focused life in the conservative suburbs of the Lone Star State.

The always-compelling Giovanni Ribisi (as loud-mouthed and short-tempered Wayne Beering) and Gabriel Macht (as his friend and partner Buck Dolby) come up with a plan that is ingenious: Taking porn that they have literally ripped from magazines, posted on their own personal website and devised a way for consumers to privately — and securely — provide credit card information to access the sexy smut, all for $9.99.

The only problem for Beering and Dolby is that their get-rich-quick scheme is, frankly, too successful. In the hands of sober, goal-oriented men, this fast-growing — truly explosive — business enterprise would have set them up for life. Unfortunately, for Beering and Dolby, their nearly-instant transformation to millionaire status merely made them blow tons of money on more and more drugs, women, Vegas hotel suites and other transitory ways to spend dollars quickly.

Not surprisingly, the recognition of a new — and cash-generating sleazy enterprise — soon catches the attention of gangsters. In this case, it’s a band of Russian criminals who take advantage of Beering and Dolby’s lack of smarts and move in on this burgeoning business.

It’s at this point that “Middle Men” turns into a film that is reminiscent of certain aspects of films like “Boogie Nights” and “Goodfellas.” While not quite as artful — Gallo’s filmmaking is presented in a more traditionally-straightforward fashion — the movie does do a nice dance between often violent action and dark humor.

The end result is it entertains effectively, yet delivers the message — perhaps sometimes a bit too heavy-handedly — about how it’s possible for a “good guy” to go bad, or at least do things that will endanger his family and his previously-ethical way of life.

That guy, of course, is Wilson’s Harris. His role in this story is as a true middle man — the increasingly reluctant partner of the Internet porn inventors, who often acts as the diplomatic go-between to bail them out of dangerous situations.

Harris long fools himself into thinking that while he only has built a better way for Beering and Dolby’s porn business to bill their customers, he’s not a pornographer himself. “I’m just the middle man” is Harris’ mantra — a false security blanket of respectability he attempts to drape over his sleazy money grabbing that his wife Diana (Jacinda Barrett) eventually brings to his attention — and very bluntly.

It should be noted that this whole tale is complicated and there are many twists and turns that Gallo effectively navigates — engaging us with a film that again confirms that age-old human foible: Temptation often takes us down a road that leads us to a very bad place. Yet, even when we know where that path is heading, our desires overwhelm our intellect and common sense and allow us to make some pretty stupid decisions.

Wilson’s cleancut, everyman image adds the right note to his casting as Harris and he delivers one of his best, and most nuanced performances to date. Ribisi is appropriately over-the-top as Berring and Rade Serbedzija makes his Russian mob kingpin Nikita Sokoloff the chilling villain you want to see. Just the way Serbedzija smiles as he threatens is enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

It’s also nice to see James Caan back as the truly duplicitous attorney Jerry Haggerty — providing one of the more intriguing character studies in the film.

Though it’s a relatively small role, it’s also interesting to see comic Kevin Pollak portraying a totally-serious FBI agent who ends up playing a key role in the very satisfying end game we witness at the end of the picture.


Related Posts

LonBrook to Distribute BSwish in Australia

VICTORIA, Australia — Pleasure products brand BSwish has tapped LonBrook to distribute its line of pleasure products in Australia. BSwish, a rep explained, has also undergone “a vibrant rebrand,” including the launch of its Infinite range and LE Beauty Editions.…

Google Cracks Down on Adult Site Ad Placement Through Partner Network

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google disabled on Tuesday its Programmable Search Engine (ProSE) marketing product from several adult sites, after an attention-grabbing report for an analytics company was sensationalized by two advertising industry trade publications. According to Google’s VP of Global…

TeamSkeet Announces New Series ‘GlowUpz’

TeamSkeet has announced the debut of its latest series, "GlowUpz."

Researchers, ECP Release 1st ‘Pornhub Creator Consultations Report’

MONTREAL — Internet and sex work researchers Maggie MacDonald and Val Webber released their first “Pornhub Creator Consultations Report” last week, probing issues such as banking access for sex workers, different types of platform discrimination, and advocacy. This report draws…

Live Cam Awards Announces 10th Edition Date

The Live Cam Awards, an annual event celebrating excellence in the live cam industry, has announced that its 10th edition will take place on Feb. 26, 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.