This one is just dumb.
First released in 1993 and something of a perennial on AMC, Indecent Proposal tells the story of David (Woody Harrelson) and Diane (Demi Moore), two kids who meet in high school, get married, and end up living what, in Hollywood, passes for an average, middle class lifestyle — which is to say, Diane is a successful real estate broker, David is an architect, and they’re in the process of building their dream house on the beach. (Just like everyone else you know, right?) However, the economy goes bad, David loses his job, and they find themselves deep in debt.
Desperately, they decide to take a gamble. Literally. They go to Las Vegas and, at first, it seems like everything’s going to be alright. David has a run of luck and makes a lot of money. They make so much money that David and Diane end up having sex on top of it. Now, I have to admit, if I ever won $25,000 dollars in Vegas, I would probably spread it on a bed and roll around naked on it as well. But only if it was paper money. Coins would probably be uncomfortable and I’d hate to end up with a hundred little impressions of George Washington’s profile running up and down my body.
But anyway, David and Diane make the mistake of sticking around in Vegas for a second day and they end up losing all of the money that they previously won and you better believe that when the chips are pulled away, Diane is shown trying grab them in slow motion while going, “Noooooo!” Soon, David and Diane are sitting in an all-night diner and trying to figure out what to do next. A waitress overhears them and sadly shakes her head. Obviously, she’s seen a lot of movies about Las Vegas.
Anyway, this movie is too dumb to waste this many words on its plot so let’s just get to the point. David and Diane meets John Gage (Robert Redford), a millionaire who offers to give David a million dollars in exchange for having one (and only one) commitment-free night with Diane. David and Diane agree and then spend the rest of the movie agonizing over their decision. Eventually, this leads to Diane and David splitting up, John Gage reentering the picture and proving himself to be not such a bad guy, and David eventually buying a hippo.
It’s all really dumb.
Anyway, I was planning on making quite a few points about this set-up but, quite frankly, this film is so dumb that I’m getting annoyed just writing this review. So, instead of breaking this all down scene-by-scene, I’m just going to point out a few things and then move on to better melodramas.
1) Every character in the movie has a scene where they eventually ask what we (the viewing audience) would do if we were in a similar situation. “Would you have sex for a million dollars?” Well, let’s see. Basically, the deal seems to be that you have safe, non-kinky, missionary position sex with a millionaire who you will never have to see again after you get paid. And you’re getting a million dollars in return. Would I do it? OF COURSE, I’D DO IT! It’s a million dollars, it’s just one night, and it’s not like you’re being asked to fuck Vladimer Putin or something. If the film wanted to create a true moral dilemma, they should have cast someone other than Robert Redford as John Gage and they should have had Gage propose something more than just one night. If Gage had been played by an unappealing actor (or perhaps if the film were made today with Redford looking as craggly as he did in Capt. America or All Is Lost) or if it had been a million dollars for Diane to serve as a member of Gage’s harem for a year, the film would have been far different and perhaps not any better but at least all of the subsequent angst would have made sense.
2) What really annoyed me is that, after Diane returns from her night with Gage, neither she nor her husband ever cash that million dollar check. If you’re going to agree to the stupid deal, at least take advantage of it.
3) Finally, why would you accept a check for something like that? Did Gage write, “For letting me fuck your wife” in the memo line? Why not get paid in cash so, at the very least, you don’t have to deal with IRS?
Seriously, this movie is just dumb.