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Middle Men DVD Review: Sex, Lies And MasterCard

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An irreverent, strictly behind the scenes tabloid peep show about sex without being sexy, Middle Men shines a sleazy, at times satirical spotlight on all those invisible guys out there who make stuff happen in the world, specifically online porn, without ever taking their clothes off. A composite fictional account of what went down back in the late 1990s as pornography first broke out all over the Internet in a big way, Middle Men is based on some evidently sordid life experiences of the film's producer, Christopher Mallick, but he's not talking. Likely to protect the guilty, who can say.

Luke Wilson is Jack Harris in Middle Men, a Texas suburban family man and business consultant, with some awfully strange clients. Venturing into increasingly unconventional waters, Jack gets a gig advising a gangster (Robert Forster) in kinder and gentler methods of operation prior to considering breaking kneecaps. He then moves on to dispensing financial advice to a pair of out of control computer geeks, Wayne (Giovanni Ribisi), a barbiturate freak failed veterinarian, and brainy NASA outcast, Buck (Gabriel Macht).

Strapped for cash, the duo set up possibly the first porn website in existence, but can't figure out how use it to generate profits. That is, until they invent a computer program enabling credit card numbers to be typed in as a money transaction. Which not only ended up filling their coffers with huge amounts of money that they had no idea what to do with, but actually laid the blueprint for the entire Internet credit card payment system in existence ever since. From masturbation to MasterCard, who knew.

As Jack assists the accidental entrepreneurs in developing their venture into self-entertainment so to speak, by acquiring fresh content photographed at strip clubs, the Russian mob moves in and demands a share of the revenue. Also turning up to run interference, are the authorities, who are convinced that they can nab terrorists with the cyber-smut peddlers' assistance whether they like it or not, by monitoring insurgent world wide web porn downloading preferences.

George Gallo's slickly paced, surprise at every turn Middle Men captures the combo deranged and delirious danger junkie joy ride that defined the advent of the Internet and online porn. Though when Jack gets hopelessly hooked on one of the website's leading interactive porn stars and then subsequently heartbroken when she turns out not to be much of a monogamist, the only viewer reaction imaginable regarding lame plot lines is, hello? While the big money shot here for these bucks over babes virtual brainiacs, is just how potent an aphrodisiac a cocktail of cash and power can be.

DVD Features: Deleted scenes; Outtakes; Slap montage.

Anchor Bay Entertainment Entertainment
Rated R
3 stars

Prairie Miller is a NY multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio, and on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express. Read more reviews by Prairie Miller. Contact her through NewsBlaze.

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