Ted Danson as Moose is the best thing about this film. Moose is gay. Very gay. Gay as a San Francisco-based sitcom in which Graham Norton and Dale Winton gayly stress over their costumes for some forthcoming festival of radical gayness. But because Moose wants to be one of the boys, he has to pretend to be... one of the boys. So, we get a straight (and slightly butch) actor playing a gay character who's pretending to be straight. Forget Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote - this is the performance of the year!
Danson's defining scene is when the crew holds a screening of a porno, and Moose has to slyly peek at everyone's reactions and filter his non-enthusiasm through an oh-so-hetero pantomime of tics, grunts and nods of approval.
And that is where the laughter (and interest) stops. After that it's not good. Not good at all. The film's idea of wit is people falling over the back of sofas; and its idea of sexy is a Benny Hill-style, speeded-up shag. Oh, and its idea of edgy is a sphincter-squeezing, knee-crossing, eye-covering, gag-inducing joke about how a trio of black men hired as 'actors' turn out to - drum roll please - have small cocks!
And once you've endured the film's fumbling, mumbling and stumbling, there's a crippled-kitten twist that's plucked out of the air. So just when you think it's safe to brush off the popcorn crumbs and stagger off to the exit, there's a great rubber sledgehammer of a slushy ending which takes dewy-eyed, gooey-brained sentimentality to some kind of extra-sadistic, sub-atomic level.
Bridges puts his back into it but looks as old and tired as you'll feel. While the inventive sexual euphemisms might raise the odd grudging smirk ("scrumping", "yodelling", "visiting the back porch"), if you want porn, get porn. If you want a movie about porn with wit and character and sex and style, get Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights.
A sterile and mawkish stinker that manages to dull even The Dude's legendary twinkle. The two stars are for Ted Danson.
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