Men

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Romance

Sean Young stars as a fiercely independent woman on a journey of sexual exploration and self-fulfillment in MEN, a well acted, but desultory and trite indie with a shamelessly contrived tearjerking conclusion. Stella James (Sean Young) spends her days wandering aimlessly through Manhattan picking up various men while living with her rich ex-lover Teo (Dylan...read more

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Sean Young stars as a fiercely independent woman on a journey of sexual exploration and self-fulfillment in MEN, a well acted, but desultory and trite indie with a shamelessly contrived tearjerking conclusion.

Stella James (Sean Young) spends her days wandering aimlessly through Manhattan picking up various men while living with her rich ex-lover Teo (Dylan Walsh), who has become an impotent alcoholic. Unwilling to change, Teo gives Stella a one-way ticket to LA and she winds up in Venice Beach, where

she gets a job as a chef at a restaurant. Stella begins a casual affair with its married owner, George (John Heard), but still continues to have numerous one-night stands with other men. After learning that Teo has died, Stella begins dating a radical young photographer named Frank (Richard

Hillman) and finds herself falling in love with him, and she quits the restaurant after George pressures her to commit to him. After a party in which Frank gets wildly drunk and Stella freaks out over his bizarre group of lesbian friends, she runs away, but returns the next morning. Stella and

Frank declare their love for each other, but soon after, he's killed while taking pictures of a convenience store robbery. Stella gets a job at a new restaurant and discovers that her experiences have turned her into a strong and mature woman.

For all of its nudity, "shocking" talk about female masturbation and orgasms, and frank attempts to shatter sexual double standards, MEN ultimately amounts to little more than an explicit and foul-mouthed version of scores of similar TV-movies in which a woman tries to find herself, while also

finding Mr. Perfect. Unfortunately, in the meandering script adapted from Margaret Diehl's best-seller, exactly what Stella is searching for is not made very clear, and she comes off as vapid and pretentious. When not being ravished from behind on the apartment floor of some strange guy she met

five minutes ago, Stella spends most of the movie walking moodily through trendy Soho and Venice Beach locations while waxing poetically to herself with such profundities as "The air is moist and warm, dripping with the New York sweetness of half-dressed bodies, garbage, and open back doors of

restaurants." Most of her dialogue is laughable ("I think I'm gonna believe in sexual anarchy"; "I'm not a caboose you can hook to some man's choo-choo train"), and the shamelessly sappy ending is poorly handled (one minute, Frank is laughing while awaiting surgery for a bullet wound, and the next

minute he's dead, with Stella hysterically screaming and cursing at the doctors). This is followed by a cliched coda where Stella muses "I miss Frank, but I got answers to my questions, and this new woman I have found is alive and real," and the film actually concludes with a title card that says

"The Beginning."

Disrobing with abandon, Sean Young is quite convincing as an unconventional free spirit, but she's a bit old for the role of a young woman on a journey of self-discovery, and her attempts to look girlish and innocent (such as by putting her hair in pigtails) are faintly risible. Among the

supporting cast, John Heard is very good as the beleaguered and miserably married George, and Karen Black (who also co-wrote the script), shows up in a mind-boggling cameo as a blind lesbian with some kind of strange accent, but Richard Hillman (whose father was one of the film's executive

producers) is fairly amateurish as the studly Frank, a sensitive photojournalist with long, blond hair and a social conscious, whose pictures consist of "exposing America's economic unbalance." (Nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Sean Young stars as a fiercely independent woman on a journey of sexual exploration and self-fulfillment in MEN, a well acted, but desultory and trite indie with a shamelessly contrived tearjerking conclusion. Stella James (Sean Young) spends her days wan… (more)

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