Review Date: September 06, 2002
Director: Steven Shainberg
Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson
Producers: Steven Shainberg, Andrew Fierberg, Amy Hobby
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway
James Spader as Edward Grey
Jeremy Davies as Peter
That's right, even those folks who prefer candle wax on their nipples or sucking toes can apparently find the "right" person in life (which still doesn't explain my bachelorhood, but I guess that's another story altogether). There are various elements which help this film gel as a whole, including the score by David Lynch regular Angelo Badalamenti, the great looking office sets, the palpable sexual build-up between the two lead characters, played splendidly by both the underrated James Spader and the cutey-patootie Maggie Gyllenhaal, and even more so, the very original premise which places these two very odd people in a very basic situation to which we can all relate (having a shitty boss). And no matter how bad you think you've ever had it with your own supervisor, I don't think it'll come close to some of the kooky (kinky) stuff that goes on in here. One very memorable sequence features Gyllenhaal having sex with her boyfriend (actually, more like "lying there" while her boyfriend penetrates) and another in which her boss asks her to bend over the desk, pull up her skirt and...well, maybe I should leave the rest to your imaginations, but needless to say...this movie gets pretty graphic! Now I've never been into that whole S&M scene myself (M&Ms are more my game) but the way that it was presented here (you know, very surface and un-leather and chain-like), actually turned me on here and there.
I'm not sure if it was Gyllenhaal (or maybe even Spader) but the movie really juiced the tension between the two. But despite its daring subject matter, the flick ain't perfect, doesn't finish as well as it starts, goes on for a little too long and doesn't really develop any other characters but the two leads (I thought the mom was hilarious but what was her story?) Once again, let me remind you that this is not a kid's movie or a comedy per se (although admittedly, it does feature some funny moments), this is not the kind of movie that everyone will dig (it moves slow and offers plenty of master/slave sexual undercurrents), but it is definitely original in every sense of the word, features a couple of very unique and fun performances by its leads and had me seriously wondering about the fates of these two very quirky individuals long after the credits were done rolling. Now if you'll excuse me...I gotta go jerk off...