Anchor Bay's April '08 Releases
Corporate Affairs (April 13/08)
Dan Cohen's highly-anticipated followup to 2000's superb Diamond Men, Corporate Affairs is an almost maddeningly uneven effort that nevertheless manages to hold the viewer's interest throughout its brisk running time. Breckin Meyer stars as Ted, a happily-married computer programmer whose life takes an unexpected turn after he's promoted to middle management - as the hapless everyman finds himself drawn into an illicit world of tawdry sex clubs and internet-based prostitution rings. There's little doubt that Corporate Affairs fares best in its opening stretch, with the presence of several undeniably effective elements - including Meyer's surprisingly strong performance and the authenticity with which Cohen has infused the film's corporate landscape - proving instrumental in drawing the viewer into the admittedly laid-back storyline. Cohen's predilection for going off on off-the-wall tangents ultimately does undermine the film's positive attributes, however, and it becomes increasingly difficult to overlook the inclusion of several entirely needless characters and sequences (ie a loopy prostitute with an alien fixation, Ted's downright baffling third-act encounter with his boss' wife, etc). This lack of focus notwithstanding, Corporate Affairs is otherwise an affable piece of work that benefits from Cohen's expectedly fluid dialogue and gift for eliciting top-notch performances from his actors - leading one to hope that the movie marks a minor misstep for an exceedingly promising filmmaker.
How did it feel..? (April 18/08)
How did it feel..? marks the directorial debut of actor-turned-playwright Daniel Faraldo, and the film's entirely inauthentic vibe has been compounded by a stagy sensibility that only highlights the various problems within Faraldo's utterly incompetent screenplay. The aimlessness with which the filmmaker has infused the proceedings certainly doesn't help matters, as the movie primarily revolves around the increasingly antagonistic relationship between interracial couple Jesse (Blair Underwood) and Kate (Lucinda Clare). Kate's success as a self-help author has severely overshadowed the efforts of Jesse to launch a career as a playwright, and the pair's problems are exacerbated by the arrival of Kate's flighty (and seemingly insane) sister (Natasha Gregson Wagner's Maggie). Completely superficial from start to finish, How did it feel..? remains unable to elicit even a fraction of the viewer's interest throughout its disastrously padded-out running time - with Faraldo's inability to transform any of the central characters into fully-realized, marginally-compelling figures certainly sounding the film's death knell. The few admittedly honest moments - ie a prolonged argument between Jesse and Kate regarding his career (or lack thereof) - are undermined by the unreasonably broad performances, as Faraldo has evidently instructed his actors to overplay virtually every single line of dialogue within his interminable screenplay. The end result is a woefully artificial effort that possesses few elements designed to draw the viewer in, and it undoubtedly goes without saying that Faraldo should - from here on in - probably stick to his day job.