Every Breath” is a particularly sour and unpleasant sexpenser, one in which a uniquely distasteful set of characters plays out a succession of distinctly unpalatable acts. Pic has little going for it as a theatrical possibility, although cast members and a lurid campaign could help it make a dent in video.
Jimmy (Judd Nelson) could hardly be more of a loser: In the opening scene, the broke actor suffers the ignominy of being fired from a condom commercial, and at a subsequent party, the lughead behaves with all the charm of Quasimodo at a dress ball. As he accurately sums things up, “My life sucks.”
But he doesn’t know how bad things can get until he meets the sultry Lauren (Joanna Pacula), who inexplicably takes the uptight fellow to a lesbian club, then gets him beaten up by two pimps. In all respects, these two would be better off going their separate ways but, no, Lauren decides to take the lad to her palatial Hollywood Hills home, where Lauren promptly announces that her husband is trying to kill her.
Hubby turns out to be Richard, with Patrick Bauchau playing a rich variation on his part in “The Rapture” as a jaded European into sex games and paying strangers to make love to his wife. Put off by the guns and handcuffs and video cameras, Jimmy fails in yet another performance, and is appropriately dismissed as a “dud” by Lauren.
Unfortunately, the next day Jimmy comes back for more and finds that he’s able to give Lauren what she wants. Sucked into his patrons’ sick scene, in which it’s supposed to be interesting to figure out who’s manipulating whom, Jimmy nearly suffers the fate of the protagonists of “The Premature Burial” and “The Vanishing,” but he and Lauren are finally able to turn the tables on the voyeuristic, impotent Richard.
The problems here are very basic — the characters are all completely unlikable, and what they do is utterly unconvincing and unappetizing. After the appalling “The Dark Backward,” one might have thought that Nelson would have hesitated before playing another nerdy no-talent, but he’s actually had a hand in writing his role here. The only thing that would have salvaged this ridiculous part — a comic touch — is not on the menu.
Pacula displays both a very in-shape body and acute embarrassment in the face of an impossibly paradoxical role. Bauchau walks through his amoral part as if he’d played it before, which he has.
First-time helmer and co-writer Steve Bing approaches the material in a wide-eyed manner as if it really were terribly sophisticated, intriguingly kinky and stunningly suspenseful. Evidently, no one could inform him otherwise.