Disclaimer: Middle Men contains a fair amount of nudity and foul language. If you are too young or offended by such material, please refrain from viewing the film. If you view the film and find yourself offended, please do not blame me. I warned you.
Before I begin to discuss the movie, I would like to point out a few key pieces of information. These pieces of information are essential for understanding why I am A) discussing a movie that was release over 6 months ago and B) am totally and utterly surprised by the film. First, you must understand that I live in Japan and have lived in Japan for the last couple of years. Here, in the land of the rising sun, movies are typically release substantially later than they are released in the American market. Moreover, only movies that have won major awards in America or are thought to appeal to Japanese sensibilities are released in Japan. As result, I often find myself completely out of the loop when it comes to movies released since I moved to Japan. Not only do I have no idea what and when new movies come out but I also have no idea about the general quality of the movies that are released. Second, I love movies almost as much as I love books and television. I will never claim to be a film aficionado (anymore). I have tried to break myself of the elitism that plagued my movie-watching experiences during University. I just love to watch and buy movies. If they entertain me then I am satisfied.
Based on the first factor I discussed (living in Japan), I think it is understandable that I had not really heard about Middle Men until recently. Considering the mediocre reviews the movie has received, I guess it is surprising that I ever heard about it at all. As it is, I heard the name of the film but had absolutely no idea what it was about. Based on this extremely flimsy criteria, I decided to give the movie a shot and see how it was. While the movie was not a critical success, I must say that it sucked me in right from the beginning. I am not sure what aspect of the movie clicked for me (and not other reviewers) but it did. From its mix of comedy and drama to its first-person (nearly noir-esque) narration, I enjoyed the entirety of this movie. The only complaint I have about the entire film is the over-abundance of breasts. Normally, this phrase would be completely nonsensical but in this case it is true. I understand that a film featuring the pornography industry needs to establish this setting and the general attitudes of the people involved but come...on... The film basically drowns the viewer in a endless rain of severely augmented bosoms. In the end, I found them annoying rather than exciting or important to the story.
If you are not familiar with the movie, I will give you an extremely brief overview. A man, Jack Harris, is asked to assist a couple of morons who have run afoul with the Russian mob. These morons created a system for conducting credit card transactions over the Internet and were using this system to sell pictures of naked women over the Internet. To get the pictures, the morons made a deal with the Russian mob for a percentage of their profits. Since the morons were morons and also coke heads, they failed to provide the Russian mob with money. Jack comes to the aid of these morons and that sets the events of the film into motion. Long story short, Jack helps to pioneer the world of Internet commerce and finds himself increasingly entangled in the porn industry and organized crime. The story is focused on the way he deals with those problems and the eventual outcome of the problems.
As I said in the disclaimer, the movie features a lot of nudity and a lot of foul language. If you are offended by these things, I would recommend staying the hell away from this movie. If you are not offended, I would recommend the movie as a good rental choice. It has not recieved great reviews but I found it to be an excellent and enjoyable film If you see it in your local rental store, give it a shot and let me know if you like it too.