"Unrelenting Lack of Love and Intimacy"
What You Need To Know:
It is very clear to see that this is a movie with little redeeming value. Many Christian viewers will see this as another movie about godless people acting ungodly. Indeed it is. Others may see it as a morality/warning tale calling out for real love and intimacy so that the disturbing and very painful moments of this movie may never happen. However, there is little noteworthy about this movie's production values. Ideally, your friends and neighbors are your confidants, your dinner partners, your fishing buddies, your sounding boards, and your occasional helpmates. Here, they are objects of flesh, a placebo for true intimacy and ultimately, instruments for each other's destruction
(PaPaPa, HoHo, LLL, SSS, NN, A, D, MM) Strong pagan worldview of godless, bitter, angry, immoral, philandering couples with the inclusion of a very misogynist, misanthropic man; homosexual elements; 79 obscenities & 11 profanities; no violence but verbal abuse; strong sexual content including marital & adulterous sex (usually clothed or under the covers), implied lesbian intercourse, implied masturbation (several times), women kissing, sexual talk, adulterous kissing, graphic talk of homosexual rape, & other sexual situations; upper male nudity, brief upper female nudity & women in skimpy clothing; alcohol use; and miscellaneous immorality including lying, cheating, arguing, bitterness, adultery, fornication, & more.
From the creator of the hateful IN THE COMPANY OF MEN comes a modern immorality tale. Loading up the hate, misogyny, bitterness, and sadness, it is a tale of adultery entitled YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. If director Neil LaBute is using his films for therapy, then he is one very disturbed and troubled individual. With little plot, this movie shows how three couples mis-communicate and become frustrated with one another, and, hence, seek adulterous and homosexual affairs for comfort, but none is provided.
Jerry (Ben Stiller) is an acting professor who claims that Shakespeare is all about sex. He is having a loveless sexual affair with a woman named Terri (Catherine Keener). Terri is becoming increasingly frustrated with Jerry because Jerry over-analyzes everything and talks during sex. Jerry’s neighbor Barry (Aaron Eckhart who displayed great cruelty in IN THE COMPANY OF MEN) plays a mild mannered man married to mild mannered Mary (Amy Brenneman). The two are having marital difficulties, and Barry confesses to Jerry that the best sex he has is with himself. Rounding out the cast is their mutual friend, a doctor, Cary (played by producer Jason Patric). The audience quickly discovers that Cary is a very angry and spiteful man, hating both women and men.
When Jerry and Terri have dinner with their neighbors, Barry and Mary, Jerry takes the opportunity to tell Mary that he wants to meet her for sex. At first reluctant, Mary agrees, and Jerry takes her to a hotel room. There, Jerry can’t perform. In anger, he tells Barry about the hotel room, and Barry takes Mary to the very same room for a romantic getaway. Mary is so angered by this, that she doesn’t see Jerry again. Terri meets an artists assistant named Cheri at an art gallery, and they start a homosexual relationship. Jerry finds out later, and he and Terri break up.
Throughout it all, Cary is telling stories about his numerous sexual encounters, including homosexual rape. He tells the guys that he has taken hospital stationary and written letters to women who have spited him, telling them that they have contracted AIDS, even when they didn’t. In a very disturbing scene, he talks on the phone and takes out a plastic model of a fetus and throws the fetus around like a football, even drop kicking it. He clearly is a monster.
The movie concludes with Cary fornicating with one of the leading ladies and the realization that, though everyone is frustrated and unhappy, the meanest and cruelest of them all, Cary, is shown to be the most emotionally untroubled of them all. He is perfectly content in his abnormalities.
It is very clear to see that this is a movie with little redeeming value. Many Christian viewers will see this as another movie about godless people acting ungodly. Indeed it is. Others may see it as a morality/warning tale calling out for real love and intimacy so that the disturbing and very painful moments of this movie may never happen. Like LEAVING LAS VEGAS, it is a study of unchanging and unrepentant disorder and dysfunction. Though some may fancy Jason Patric’s fierce and cold performance, there is little noteworthy about the movie’s production values. LaBute employs the same stark minimalist camera style as IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, to focus more on the actors and their lines than on stylish imagery.
Ideally, your friends and neighbors are your confidants, your dinner partners, your fishing buddies, your sounding boards, your occasional helpmates, and your fellow worshippers. Here, they are objects of flesh, a placebo for true intimacy and ultimately, instruments for each other’s destruction.