Men Lie

There's probably an audience out there for "Men Lie," but it will take a savvy distrib with niche-marketing skills to find it. Word of mouth could generate pleasing B.O. in urban markets. Vid and pay TV prospects are brighter.

With:
Scott ... Doug DeLuca Jill ... Ellia Thompson Uncle Frank ... Frank Vincent Peter ... Garry Blackwood Diane ... Catherine Landherr Scott's Dad ... Victor Argo Scott's Mom ... Peggy Gormley

There’s probably an audience out there for “Men Lie,” but it will take a savvy distrib with niche-marketing skills to find it. Word of mouth could generate pleasing B.O. in urban markets. Vid and pay TV prospects are brighter.

Small-budget, N.Y.-lensed indie is a smartly written and cleverly constructed comedy with just a hint of early Woody Allen. Basic plotline has two-faced Scott (Doug DeLuca) swearing fidelity to his beautiful fiancee, Jill (Ellia Thompson), even while he attempts to bed every woman who crosses his path. In this amatory pursuit, the young man is greatly encouraged by his heartily sleazy uncle (Frank Vincent), the sort of guy who would try to settle a sexual harassment suit by sending flowers to the complainant.

All this is interesting enough and reasonably well acted, though a trifle stilted at times. But it’s not the whole story. Director/writer John Andrew Gallagher repeatedly interrupts the main action for on-camera declarations by “witnesses” (an eclectic mix of New York actors and celebrities) who provide commentaries and counterpoints to the Scott-and-Jill story.

The female witnesses — including Aida Turturro, Judith Malina, Marilyn Sokol and Catherine Scorsese — are especially hilarious as they offer withering put-downs of two-timing men in general and Scott in particular. Think of it as a Greek chorus with attitude.

“Men Lie” doesn’t exactly cover new ground. But it does provide some zingy one-liners, a few dead-on insights and enough informed observations on the war between the sexes to keep couples laughing while they’re watching the pic, and arguing when discussing it afterward. It has the potential to develop a cult following among women who have heard all the evasions and excuses the men offer here — in other words, among all women.

While no one will accuse the pic of excessive slickness, Gallagher has made the absolute most of what obviously was a limited budget. Ernie Mannix’s music is particularly effective.

Men Lie

Production: A Lexington Pictures production. Produced by Sylvia Caminer, John Ciarcia. Executive producers, John Andrew Gallagher, Jeff Mazzola. Co-producers, Dianne E. Collins, Mary Hickey. Directed, written by Gallagher.

Crew: Camera (color), Bob Lechterman; editor, Mary Hickey; music, Ernie Mannix; production design, James Bono; sound, Melanie Johnson; associate producer, John Puma; assistant director/casting, Sylvia Caminer. Reviewed at WorldFest/Houston Intl. Film Festival, April 20, 1994. Running time: 87 MIN.

With: Scott ... Doug DeLuca Jill ... Ellia Thompson Uncle Frank ... Frank Vincent Peter ... Garry Blackwood Diane ... Catherine Landherr Scott's Dad ... Victor Argo Scott's Mom ... Peggy GormleyWith: Aida Turturro, Michael Badalucco, Carolyn McDermott, Catherine Scorsese , Cathy Scorsese, David Faustino, Rainbow Borden, Michael Imperioli, Judith Malina, Isha Beck, Paula Stevens, Nicholas Turturro, Lorraine Marshall, Jeff Mazzola, Johnny (Cha-Cha) Ciarcia, Frank Acquilino, Nelson Vasquez, Sabah Shayan , Lisa Scarola, Mark Scarola, Tony Sirico, Marilyn Sokol, Tina Montalbano, Tony Rigo, Phil Carlo, Paul Herman, Victor Colicchio.

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