Review: ‘Indecent Proposal’

This is one of those high-concept pictures [from Jack Engelhard's novel] with a big windup and weak delivery. On paper, a film in which billionaire Robert Redford offers down-on-their-luck married couple Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore a cool million in exchange for one-night stand with Moore sounds surefire. Onscreen, the result has little sex, goes nowhere interesting or believable in the long second hour, and sports an idiotic conclusion that looks like Test Marketing Ending No. 6.

This is one of those high-concept pictures [from Jack Engelhard’s novel] with a big windup and weak delivery. On paper, a film in which billionaire Robert Redford offers down-on-their-luck married couple Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore a cool million in exchange for one-night stand with Moore sounds surefire. Onscreen, the result has little sex, goes nowhere interesting or believable in the long second hour, and sports an idiotic conclusion that looks like Test Marketing Ending No. 6.

Director Adrian Lyne spends the first reel establishing college sweethearts Harrelson and Moore as really in love and still ripping each other’s clothes off. But the recession has dented his architecture career and her real estate sales. Needing $50,000 to keep their house, they head for Vegas. When they hit bottom, fate appears in the guise of Redford.

Dressed impeccably and smiling nearly all the time, Redford glides through the action like a latter-day Gatsby, a man who has it all – except a woman to love. What emotional legitimacy the film does possess stems from Moore’s performance, which is lively, heartfelt and believable until the script stops letting it. Tech credits are ultralush.

Indecent Proposal

Production

Paramount. Director Adrian Lyne; Producer Sherry Lansing; Screenplay Amy Holden Jones; Camera Howard Atherton; Editor Joe Hutshing; Music John Barry; Art Director Mel Bourne

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 117 MIN.

With

Robert Redford Demi Moore Woody Harrelson Oliver Platt Seymour Cassel Billy Connolly
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