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2002 - R - 107 Mins.
Director: Paul Schrader
Producer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Todd Rosken, Pat Dollard, Alicia Allain
Written By: Michael Gerbosi, Paul Schrader, Trevor Macy
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello, Marieh Delfino, Kurt Fuller
Review by: David Trier
   
Until the end of time, we will be using film to work out the details of a great human problem. Society demands monogamy and physiology demands men hump everything above a certain temperature. This film asks whether sex addiction is really all that peculiar given the incredibly addictive nature of sex.

Such is the story of television actor Bob Crane (Greg Kinnear). When Crane, a successful radio dj was first approached to play Hogan in the Holocaust comedy Hogan’s Heroes, he wasn’t sure it would give him the right image. Nor was his wife of many years (Rita Wilson). But determined to get his career in swing, Crane takes the job and is an immediate mediocre success. On the set, Crane meets John Carpenter (Willem Dafoe), a video technology wiz to whom he immediately takes a liking. Life is basically good until Carpenter discovers Crane’s celebrity can help him get laid. As Crane is drawn into a pattern of fun-loving infidelity, it ultimately breaks up his family. But that’s not so bad since he soon after marries his horny, understanding co-star Patricia (Maria Bello). But his hardcore swinging lifestyle ultimately ruins his new family, his career, his long slimy friendship and finally his life.

For me, a person only warrants a biopic when he/she has done something incredible, be it good or bad. Not only did Bob Crane refrain from ever doing anything interesting in his career, he also managed never to remain loyal to anyone. Two wives, an agent, a best friend - all victims to a guy with a likeable smirk. However, despite all of Crane’s flaws, it’s easy to see how a man can get caught up in such hedonism. Chris Rock once said that men are as faithful as their options, and in the case of Bob Crane, these options included beautiful women pleading “do me without consequence.” Of course, there are consequences. They’re of the long-term psychological kind. It’s this change that leads to other problems like professional and social failure.

The fact that I didn’t get up in the middle of the film and yell to the screen, “you suck” (as I did in Harry Potter) is a testament to the writing, directing and acting. Greg Kinnear, although he can’t really be noted for having much of a range, makes a believable Bob Crane. He doesn’t ham it up and he doesn’t throw it all away either. But the real star of this film is Willem Dafoe. One of the great ugly actors, the pathetic and desperate Carpenter is so vivid, it’s as if he’s inviting each audience member to come on over for group sex. I found this to be awfully polite.

On the downside, director Schraeder sure as hell takes his time telling the story and sometimes the 107 minute film feels closer to two and a half hours. The writers also make no effort to hide who they think killed Bob Crane, although no one has ever been convicted. Some critics have been calling this one of the best movies of the year, which I really don’t think it deserves. In the end, I’m not sure why Crane’s story is so important to tell, but I’d be lying if I said the movie wasn’t well-acted and entertaining.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

 
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