Some movies just fly under the radar and never get the recognition they deserve, remaining completely underrated. Considering the fact that Middle Men is a movie about Internet pornography, I didn’t expect that it will become one of them. To make things even more interesting, it’s based on true events. However, despite the big “this is true” sticker at the start of the movie, during the closing credits, they state that everything is a work of fiction. And that the truth is somewhere between those two statements. Whether this was a clever joke, marketing trick or an effort to avoid legal issues is unclear.
What is clear, however, is that Middle Men is a very entertaining movie with a great cast. The leads are phenomenal, especially Luke Wilson, whom, to this day, I still remember as that buck-teeth sheriff from X-Files. And a compliment of awesome supporting actors (Kelsey Grammer, John Ashton, James Caan) fits in nicely with their subdued performances. Humor is quite clever, so don’t expect some in-your-face penis and fart jokes, but subtlety that life provides. Of course, as we’re dealing with pornography there will be some nudity, but nothing that’s over the top.
Jack Harris is a man of many talents, managing and negotiating his way out of many situations. Living with his wife and kids, he struggles to make a decent living, despite all of his work. So, when his friends offer him to come work with them in a new nightclub, he accepts. Soon, his life slowly starts getting better and better. He’s earning more and feels like finally, things are about to settle. Exactly then he gets the call of his life from two cokeheads who accidentally stumbled upon something revolutionary.
The events portrayed in this movie feel realistic and natural. And I really don’t care if everything went down exactly as they said, it’s fucking close enough. The storytelling is tight with nifty narration covering anything you might have missed. We oftentimes don’t even think about how some things came to be as they seem like the first thing someone would make. The same goes for Internet porn. From this perspective, it wouldn’t surprise me if you told me that the first site ever made was about pornography. Just think of it as The Social Network on cocaine. And blackjack and hookers.
Middle Men also features a lot of dark humor stemming from the realistic and fucked up situations our characters will find themselves in. Life always writes the craziest stories as the saying goes. These larger-than-life scenes are handled with care and without melodrama. So, prepare for one hell of an exciting ride and just dive into this underrated masterpiece.
Director: George Gallo
Writers: George Gallo, Andy Weiss
Cast: Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Gabriel Macht, James Caan, Kevin Pollak, Kelsey Grammer, Rade Serbedzija
Fun Facts: Based on the true story of Christopher Mallick, one of the producers of the movie. He still owns an internet billing company.