If The Social Network taught us anything in 2010 it’s that Internet movies can be very popular. So why didn’t Middle Men get any recognition? Because director George Gallo, who doesn’t have any really strong films in his resume, really shines as a filmmaker with this film.
Told in a jump non-linear fashion, Middle Men tells the story of Jack Harris (Luke Wilson), a Texan family man who, through a bizarre chain of events, winds up running an Internet porn website, specifically helping to create the idea of using your credit card on-line to buy something. As he builds a massive fortune he also loses everything that is important to him including himself.
With an all star cast including James Caan, Kevin Pollack, Giovanni Ribisi, Laura Ramsey, Terry Crews and many others, Men is a fantastic film that manages to cover just about everything you could want in this kind of drama: It’s got Russian gangsters, porn, car chase sequences, guns, nudity, kidnappings and a fascinating look out how an integral part of today’s Internet came to be. With tons of Rolling Stones songs and voice over on top of the non linear story telling and the epic scope of the story, you can’t help noticing that the film feels like something Martin Scorsese would have directed. Most people who try to emulate Scorsese crash and burn in a spectacular fashion, but Gallo and crew succeed admirably.
Most impressive in this film overall is Luke Wilson. Luke hasn’t quite had the big name recognition that his brother Owen has, but that might be because Luke is a little more picky about his roles. But this film proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that Luke is certainly the more talented of the Wilson brothers. Luke is consistently a great actor and this very well may be the best performance of his career.
Beyond the great acting, it has a fantastic story as well. It shows how even a really good guy like Harris can be seduced by money and glamour even when he has the best intentions. It also shows the hypocrisy of many different people. The best example of this comes when a Texas Politician, Frank Griffin (a great cameo appearance by Kelsey Grammar), tries to call Harris out on his dealings with the porn industry and Harris retorts by pulling out a list of the websites he owns that Griffin has spent money on.
This film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. It offers English, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese subtitles. This an extremely well shot film and the transfer on this disc looks fantastic. The sound is top notch as well.
Audio Commentary: Director Geroge Fallo, Editor Malcolm Campbell and Cinematographer Lukas Ettlin discuss the making of this great film. This actually a very engaging and competent commentary that is well worth sitting through. These guys really know their stuff, both on a technical level and on a historical level.
Deleted Scenes: (6 min.) These are pretty good little scenes for being deleted ones.
Outtakes: (2 min.) These are okay outtakes. Mostly you get to see Luke Wilson goof up a couple times.
Slap Montage: (1 min.) This is very well edited as the slaps go along perfectly with the music.
Frankly, I found Middle Men way more entertaining and engaging than The Social Network. Zuckerberg may have invented a popular social website, but these guys made it so you can buy things from Amazon.com and the like. Plus their story is way more exciting! This is easily one of the most underrated films of 2010 and is certainly worthy of your time.
Paramount Pictures presents Middle Men. Directed by: George Gallo. Written by George Gallo and Andy Weiss. Based on True Events. Starring: Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, James Caan, Kevin Pollack, Terry Crews and Laura Ramsey. Running time: 112. Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, drug use and violence. Released on Blu-ray and DVD: February 8, 2011.
Tags: James Caan, Luke Wilson, nudity, Terry Crews