Our review of Indecent Proposal (Blu-Ray), published June 9th, 2009, is also available.
One Million Dollars. One Night. No Questions Asked.
Does this movie fall into the category of "chick-flick" or is it actually a guy's film? You see, at its heart, Indecent Proposal is a love story, which thus would appeal to the female population. I guess we can't forget that the delicious Mr. Redford also appears in the film, which also tilts the film toward the fairer sex. On the other hand, you do get to see Demi's breasts and many nice, long pan shots of her very fine form. In addition, the whole idea of a man "buying" a night with a hottie like Demi, and you would think this is a movie for guys.
So, which is it? Is a chick-flick or a guy's flick? While Demi is definitely in fine form, which makes the movie watchable for a little while, this movie will certainly be enjoyed by women far more than men—who probably only ever saw it on a date with their then girlfriends.
Facts of the Case
David Murphy (Woody Harrelson) and his lovely wife Diana (Demi Moore) got married at an early age and have loved each other with all their heart ever since—Did I ever tell you I loved you? We learn that David, affectionately called D by Diana, is an inspired architect; while Diana, affectionately called D by David, is a real estate agent. Living in the Los Angeles area, their lives are going well and they decide to take a risk on their future by buying some property and building David's dream home there. Things immediately go down the toilet when the recession hits and they can't afford to finish building the house or make any payments on the property.
What to do, what to do? Well, D sucks it up and goes begging to his dad for some cash; unfortunately, it's nowhere near enough to pay the bills. D, on the other hand, doesn't hit her parents up for any cash. Hmm? Now what can they do? In a bit of midnight inspiration (or would that be madness?), D realizes that their salvation lies in the desert: Las Vegas!
Thus, the two lovers—Did I ever tell you I loved you?—go off to the great neon Mecca in hopes of winning the $50,000 they need to get out of debt. Their first night goes swimmingly as D wins $25,040 at the craps table. While D is in the casino, D is off shopping and stealing chocolates in one of the hotel's fine clothing establishments. As D is stuffing a handful of chocolates into her knapsack, John Gage (Robert Redford, showing the first signs of his budding need for a facelift) happens to spot the young lovely in the boutique. Instantly John knows that he would very much like to "meet" this young lady. As D continues to browse the store, John enters and attempts to impress her with his large bankroll. D is not impressed and tells John that the dress is for sale and she is not.
Believing that tomorrow will yield them the other half of the money, the two lovers—Did I ever tell you I loved you?—do the horizontal mambo on a bed covered with $25,040 in dead presidents. (Talk about a money shot!)
Being a movie, it turns out that tomorrow is going to be a really bad day. D and D lose everything at the roulette table. Of course, why D didn't go back to craps is beyond me. As they are sulkily leaving the casino, they stumble into Billy Bob Thornton who "introduces" the two sad lovers—Did I ever tell you I loved you?—to Mr. John Gage, billionaire and poon-dog extraordinaire. John notices D in the crowd, and remembering her from the store, asks her to join him for luck. D acquiesces and assists John in winning a million dollars at the craps table. (See, D really should have stuck with craps!) In return for D lending him luck, John puts them up in a fancy suite at the hotel.
Later that evening the two young lovers—Did I ever tell you I loved you?—attend a little soirée put on by John. As the evening winds down, it would so happen that the only people left are D, D, and John. During a friendly game of billiards, John gets around to making a little indecent proposal to the couple: I'll give you a million dollars for one evening with D…Diana, that is.
As John correctly assesses, the two immediately make a reflexive refusal of the offer. However, the proposal weighs upon the two poor lovers—Did I ever tell you I love you?—and they soon decide to take John up on his offer. With an inspired cameo by Oliver Platt as D's college buddy and family lawyer, the two sign a contract with John detailing the proposal. With a quick signature, John and D are off to party on his big boat.
D realizes that he's made the wrong decision to let D go with John and tries to stop them; alas, he's too late. He's in agony and begins to wander around Vegas in a fugue. Fortunately (for the viewer), morning comes quickly and D returns from her rendezvous with John. The lovers—Did I ever tell you I loved you?—are reunited and things seem to be good once again.
But, as this is a movie, something else must go awry. D provides this as he is soon overcome by jealousy. He is crazy with envy and believes that D is attracted to John and wanted to sleep with him from the start. One thing leads to another and the young lovers—Did I ever tell you I loved you?—are soon going separate ways.
The rest of the movie deals with feelings of suspicion and John's quest to win over D's heart. Will the two lovers—Did I ever tell you I loved you?—reunite? Will John win over D? Will D fall in love with John? Will we ever hear the two young lovers say "Did I ever tell you I loved you?" one more time?
Of course, we know the ending to the movie because: (a) It's a chick-flick and they always have a happy ending; (b) Redford is a stud and he always gets the girl; or (c) The opening scene of the movie shows us the final resolution? If you guessed (c), you'd be right. With that in mind, why spend the next two hours watching the film when Demi's breasts can be seen in chapter two?
Overall, this is a marginal film that is intent on pounding home the message that these two people love each other, and that this love will help them overcome all obstacles in life. Aside from that continual pounding, my other problem with the movie is how much David freaked out after Diana spent the night with John. I realize that it is a perfectly logical (err, emotional) reaction to the situation, but it is just too much.
At the time, I recall there was a "great debate" about the movie and the indecent proposal therein. Here's my two-cents on this: (1) IF put into the position, I would thoroughly talk over the issue with my significant other; (2) We would both agree on what to do; (3) If "we" agreed to do it, then we would live with it, and I would hope that I wouldn't flip out like David did. A million dollars, for people in that position, would be a very great thing. Of course, I agree with Oliver Platt, I would have tried for two million if I had a woman like Demi.
Indecent Proposal is presented in anamorphic widescreen and is a very nice transfer. The video is clean with no dust, no grain, nor any artifacting to be seen (even considering tough night shots, rain scenes, and a fog scene); edge enhancement is kept to a minimum and is hard to notice unless you're looking for it. As for the color—and I am not sure if this is from the original print or not—but while the colors are accurate and present a nice flesh tone, they are muted and subdued. In three key scenes, the Vegas flyover and two sunsets, the colors are just not as bold and vibrant as you would expect.
Audio default is a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track. This track barely uses the rear speakers for any ambience, and I believe my subwoofer was used for about ten seconds; but this is not the type of movie to have an aggressive soundtrack. Overall, the audio is well presented from the front speakers with a clean, hiss-free track.
And, while on the audio track, I must comment on the score as written by John Barry. Barry wrote the soundtrack for Dances with Wolves three years before this movie. I am a fan of that movie and its soundtrack and am thus quite familiar with that piece of work. Unfortunately, Barry decided to rehash his John Dunbar Theme as the love theme for this film. Thus, every time I heard the love theme, which is quite often, I could not stop but think of Wolves instead. Very distracting!
As for bonus features, being a Paramount release, this is pretty much yet another bare bones release. The only special feature is an audio commentary by director Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction, 9 1/2 Weeks, and Flashdance). His commentary is not very exciting but does occasionally garner an interesting gem about the movie. He is very quiet through most of the movie, which means there are significant gaps in his commentary. When he does speak, he does talk about the story, the characters, and some behind-the-scenes stuff and not a technical analysis of the film—though he does like to mention which shots he likes better than others. Some of the most interesting tidbits involve the money used during the scene sex in Vegas and how he "relates" to John Gage's subway story. Quite interesting is the IMDb factoid about that same scene. I presume both could be true, but it's one of those things that make you go hmmm. On a side note, I just happened to be reading the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly and they mention that Lyne's first words for his commentary on Fatal Attraction are "I have the worst memory." Surprisingly enough, that's how he starts his commentary here.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
While everyone does the best they can with the material presented, this movie is nonetheless ridden with many of the standard love story clichés. There is potential in the general story idea, as evidenced by the 1992 Honeymoon in Vegas, but it doesn't manifest itself in this film.
I cannot recommend this disc. The movie is not that compelling to sustain itself for multiple viewings. Couple that with the lack of extras, and there really is no reason to add this to your collection. At best, this disc could be a nice rental for a date.
Further, please let me skip the opening FBI statements (especially the French version) and such. I'm surprised studios haven't figured out a way to make us not be able to fast-forward past the warnings on VHS tapes too. Also, what's up with the MPAA warning at the beginning of the movie? I think by the time we rent or buy a disc, we're already familiar with the rating and don't need to be reminded.
Paramount is sentenced to 24 to 99 months for releasing yet another bare bones disc for the hefty price of $24.99. They should hang their heads in shame for their continued abuse of DVD.
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Scales of Justice
• Audio Commentary with Director Adrian Lyne
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