Too Many Distasteful Elements
Release Date: November 02, 2012
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth
Banks, Ray Liotta, Kerry
Washington, Laura Linney,
Runtime: 102 minutes
Distributor: Radius-TWC/The Weinstein
Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Executive Producer: Mickey Liddell, Jennifer
Hilton, Jennifer Roth
Producer: Mark Gordon, Hagai Shaham,
Writer: Jacob Aaron Estes
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairmen, The Weinstein Company (Radius-TWC/Dimension Films)
345 Hudson Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (646) 862-3400; Fax: (917) 368-7000
THE DETAILS stars Tobey Maguire as Jeff Lang, a doctor who wants to kill a raccoon that’s tearing up his lawn. He also appears to be happily married for 10 years to his wife, Nealy, but the stresses of everyday life have rendered their marriage sexless. Jeff seeks consolation by talking about his marital problems with a married female friend and they wind up committing adultery. Then, he finds himself seduced by his crazy next-door neighbor when she’s crying over the fact her cat died after eating his raccoon poison. From there, things start to spiral out of control for Jeff. Eventually, blackmail, murder, and cover-ups occur.
All these events are played for laughs. In fact, some of the twists – such as the accidental cat poisoning – are amusing, but, when THE DETAILS plays adultery for laughs, the movie crosses the line into moral turpitude. Those moments actually prove to be a drag on the movie’s attempt to be clever. There’s also a murder scene that’s disturbing because the victim is pregnant.
A big problem with THE DETAILS is that the filmmakers can’t seem to decide if they want Jeff to be an admirable figure or not. Thus, between his adulterous episodes, he donates a kidney to save the life of a Christian man who can’t afford the best medical care. Even better, he willingly attends the man’s church service when the church wants to honor Jeff for his donation.
[SPOILERS FOLLOW] In the end, Jeff and Nealy each admit having affairs but forgive each other in an odd fashion – they basically adopt the cavalier attitude that “affairs happen.” Worse, despite the fact Jeff and his wife reconcile, they opt to live the rest of their lives with guilty consciences rather than turn the killer into authorities because they sympathize with the man and the tough life he’s had. This shows there’s an antinomian, or lawless, spirit at work in THE DETAILS.
Overall, THE DETAILS has strong performances and a unique, unpredictable plot. However, it ultimately has too many immoral, distasteful elements. This is especially true of its cavalier, lawless attitude toward adultery and justice. THE DETAILS also contains lots of foul language, much of it pretty strong.
A big problem with THE DETAILS is that the filmmakers can’t seem to decide if they want Jeff to be an admirable or not. Thus, between his adulterous episodes, he donates a kidney to save the life of a Christian man who can’t afford the best medical care. Ultimately, there are too many too many immoral, distasteful elements, including a cavalier attitude toward adultery. THE DETAILS also contains lots of foul language.