Middle Men (film)

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Middle Men
Luke Wilson is pictured inside the uterus of a woman.
Theatrical poster
Directed by George Gallo
Produced by Christopher Mallick
William Sherak
Jason Shuman
Michael Weiss
Written by George Gallo
Andy Weiss
Starring Luke Wilson
Giovanni Ribisi
Gabriel Macht
James Caan
Music by Brian Tyler
Cinematography Lukas Ettlin
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Production
company
Oxymoron Entertainment & Paramount Pictures
Distributed by Paramount Vantage[1]
Release dates
  • May 17, 2009 (2009-05-17) (Cannes)
  • August 6, 2010 (2010-08-06) (United States)
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[2]
Box office $754,301[2][3]

Middle Men is a 2009 comedy-drama film directed by George Gallo and written by Gallo and Andy Weiss. It stars Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Gabriel Macht and James Caan.[4] The movie is based on the experiences of Christopher Mallick who was previously associated with the internet billing companies, Paycom and ePassport. Christopher Mallick has been accused of stealing millions of dollars from his customers at ePassport to fund the creation of the film.[5][6][7][8]

Plot[edit]

In a flashforward, Jack Harris foresees several million dollars in a duffel bag. He foresees being on his way to meet Russian mobsters.

Wayne Beering and Buck Dolby are best friends renting together in 1997 Los Angeles. Wayne asks a question why there is no porn on the internet. Buck complains to Wayne about him smoking while he sleeps and resorts to a brawl on the floor.

Jack and his wife Diana live in Houston happily married with partial financial trouble. Jack flies to LA for a few weeks to earn money by helping a sick friend co-managing a nightclub. Wayne continues to pitch his idea of porn on the internet to Buck. Angrily, Buck tells Wayne that the idea will never work because there is no system to charge people. With that idea Buck, who was a NASA scientist addicted to drugs, creates an online credit card verification program to charge people for looking at dirty pictures on a website in 15 minutes. The website ends up earning thousands of dollars in a matter of days. Wayne and Buck then go on to improve the content on their website by filming girls from a local club owned by Nikita Sokoloff: a Russian mob boss. Sokoloff beats the men until they tell them their business proposal and agrees to be their partner at a 25% cut. Buck and Wayne's site is so successful that they have to create a great deal of infrastructure in a short matter of time. Buck quits his job and the two friends clumsily manage their business and their finances. After partying in Las Vegas for weeks, Sokoloff comes to collect his share of their massive profits which totals a little over a million in just two months.

Jack makes the LA nightclub into a success and attracts the attention of Jerry Haggerty a crooked lawyer under indictment. Jack comes at the request of Haggerty to help Wayne and Buck sort out their problem with Sokoloff. After cleaning up and sorting out their future plans on how to expand their business, Jack cuts out Haggerty by paying him 200k and arranges to pay off the Russian mob boss. Sokoloff's nephew comes to collect the money, but threatens to kill Jack's family if he doesn't pay. Jack shows him the duffel bag filled with 450k and the Russian becomes more friendly. One of Jack's body guards, James, who is his bouncer from the club he manages and his best friend, punches Sokoloff's nephew for threatening Jack's son. James punches Sokoloff's nephew so hard he accidentally dies from internal hemorrhaging in the brain. In order to protect himself and all the people he is around, James covers up the murder by planning to throw the body into the ocean and fabricating a story that Sokoloff's nephew took the money and ran.

The three partners create a billing company called 24 7 billing.com and make hundreds of millions. Diana learns about Jack's business and disapproves. Jack showers his family back in Houston with riches, but is distant from his family because he works so much. Over time Jack becomes addicted to the rich and powerful lifestyle and becomes emotionally and physically involved with a porn star named Audrey Dawns. Sokoloff warns Jack that the FBI agents are investigating him. In the encounter Jack finds out that Haggerty is Sokoloff's lawyer. Haggerty, still bitter that Jack cut him out of a multimillion dollar partnership, schemes to take over Jack's company. Haggerty arranges with Wayne and Buck to meet Denny Z, a scum bag, who add a portal of his porn which includes underage girls. The truth is that Audrey's live stream attracts terrorists and the FBI is able to track the terrorists. The FBI asks for Jack and Audrey's help. Wayne and Buck see that Jack is meeting with the FBI and assume that he is turning them in for any number of their illegal acts. Both friends unknowingly confide with Sokoloff's lawyer, Haggerty, about killing Sokoloff's nephew. Through that stream and Jack's website the FBI are able to track the terrorist watching the stream. With Jack and Audrey's cooperation, the Navy and other government agencies either bomb or capture over 100 top Afghan terrorists.

When Jack finds out that Denny Z is dealing with underage porn Jack crashes Denny Z's party and throws several punches and shoots him in the foot. At the party Jack sees Audrey with two other men and realizes that he misses his family as well as Audrey isn't the loving family person that he is. Jack breaks up with Audrey. An FBI agent comes to warn Jack that he is about to be indicted for having underage porn on his company's transaction network and that he should leave immediately. Jack is given this favor because he helped the government capture so many dangerous men. Sokoloff's men kidnaps what they believe is Jack's son; however, it turns out to be the maid's son. Jack gathers up several million dollars and goes to the meeting. In the meeting Jack is told to sign a contract that states he is selling his shares of his company to Wayne, Buck, Sokoloff, and Haggerty. Jack asks for the maid's son to be released and he is. Jack signs the agreement but backdates the agreement before Denny Z's child porn is put onto the site. After the contract is signed, Sokoloff shoots Haggery in the chest and states that he couldn't trust him. Sokoloff continues to say that since Jack has made so much money for them he will let him go.

At the end of the movie Wayne and Buck are being tried for having child porn on their porn network. Both friends try to put the blame on Jack, but the same FBI agent who warned Jack is trying both Wayne and Buck. Since Jack had back dated the contract to before the child porn was on the site he was never considered part of the indictment and gets away clean. Jack and James return the maid's son to the family. Diane stares at Jack and after a short time both enter the house together as a functional family.

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

Middle Men was released on August 6, 2010.

The first official theatrical trailer for the film was released on June 16, 2010.[9]

A red band trailer was released on July 10, 2010.

A long take sequence taking place at an orgy was cut from the film. The scene's inclusion would have pushed the film from an R rating to an NC17 rating. The scene was subsequently leaked to adult video clip website Pornhub.[10] It was subsequently included on the home-video release.

Reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 41% based on 46 reviews. The site consensus is "Middle Men benefits from a solid cast, particularly Luke Wilson, but its muddled script lets them down".[11] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 60% based on reviews from 20 critics.[12]

The film grossed only $733,000 at the box office during its three-week run. The budget was $20 million.[2]

Home Media[edit]

Middle Men was released February 8, 2011.

Soundtrack[edit]

Two soundtrack albums were released, both on August 3, 2010: Middle Men: Original Motion Picture Score, composed by Brian Tyler, and Middle Men: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, collecting songs used in the film.

Score

All songs written and composed by Brian Tyler

Soundtrack

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rich, Katey (2010-02-19). "Paramount Picks Up Luke Wilson Indie Middle Men". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Middle Men". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. 
  3. ^ "Middle Men - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-09-16. 
  4. ^ Dave McNary (2008-09-18). "Wilson, Ribisi to star in 'Middle Men'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  5. ^ Sanjiv Bhattacharya (2011-03-01). "Inside Hollywoods Greatest Vanity Project". Details. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 
  6. ^ "AVN - 'After Porn Ends' Gets Life After Porn on iTunes". Business.avn.com. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  7. ^ "Following the Money, ePassporte Edition — Krebs on Security". krebsonsecurity.com. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  8. ^ "AVN - e Passport CEO Issues Statement to Calm the Masses". Business.avn.com. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  9. ^ "Middle Men Full Trailer". The Film Stage. June 16, 2010. Retrieved June 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Luke Wilson's New Movie -- Deleted Orgy Scene". July 23, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Middle Men (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. 
  12. ^ "Middle Men". Metacritic. CBS. 

External links[edit]