"Too Many Distasteful Elements"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(RoRoRo, FRFR, C, B, LLL, V, SS, AA, DD, MMM) Very strong Romantic worldview with ultimately an antinomian or lawless view, with a couple of redemptive Christian, redemptive, moral elements such as protagonist donates a kidney to devout churchgoing Christian friend, and they attend the man’s church together in one scene but nothing else really comes of these faith references; about 45 obscenities and profanities (including about 20 variations of the “f” word and some strong profanities); violence includes pregnant woman shot dead with arrow, man purposely runs over raccoon with his car, and man accidentally poisons crazy neighbor’s cat; depicted adulterous sex between clothed couple in one scene, implied adulterous sex in another scene, man flirts with women online, and man’s wife eventually admits she has also cheated on her marriage; no nudity; alcohol use and drinking to get drunk; no smoking but one reference to smoking marijuana to relieve stress; and, married couple argues loudly, blackmail, man takes out home equity to pay off blackmailer without wife’s knowledge, man caught with violating a building code, couple eventually excuses their infidelity as just one of those things, and couple refuses to turn in murderer because he’s a friend and has had a hard life.
THE DETAILS is a dark comedy about a doctor whose obsession with killing a raccoon in his backyard leads to a spiral of affairs, blackmail and even murder. THE DETAILS has some talented acting and a unique plot, with a couple Christian elements, but its entertainment value and acceptability are undermined by some immoral, distasteful qualities that lead the movie astray.
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.