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(1998) (Robert Downey Jr., Heather Graham) (R)

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Drama: Two women discover they have the same boyfriend and then confront him, demanding the truth about their relationships.
Outside a SoHo loft, two women meet while waiting for their boyfriends. Carla (HEATHER GRAHAM) is a beautiful and clever woman, while Lou (NATASCHA GREGSON WAGNER) describes herself as cute and streetwise. After talking for a few moments, they come to the startling conclusion that they're both simultaneously dating flamboyant performance artist Blake Allen (ROBERT DOWNEY, JR.). Instead of being jealous of one another, the two break into Blake's loft and wait for his return. Jointly confronting him once he arrives, Lou and Carla want the truth from Blake who tries to cover their discovery by admitting that he simultaneously loves both of them. From that point on, the three try to figure out their triangular relationship.
Not unless they're fans of someone in the cast.
For a strong sex scene, strong language and sexual dialogue, and for a violent image. (Edited for re-rating from the original NC-17).
Considering the admitted sexual flings and rampant cursing, it's doubtful many parents would consider any of the three main characters as good role models.


OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
Supposedly an examination of the pros and cons of monogamy and love in general, this essentially one-set film desperately tries to be provocative, but comes off as not much more than an annoying waste of an hour and a half. While the set-up has some potential two women discovering to their shock that they're dating the same guy the material that follows falls flat on its face. Deciding to forgo the obvious comic possibilities of such an arrangement, the film's dramatic moments are ludicrously bad.

Reportedly filmed in less than two weeks and on a less than one million dollar budget, writer and director James Toback (1987's "The Pick-up Artist" -- with Downey, and the Oscar-nominated writer of "Bugsy") was obviously hoping to capture the raw, spontaneous and obviously combustible nature of a triangular relationship. Instead, the low budget and quick shooting schedule makes the movie feel like an experimental film school project that should have stayed in the classroom.

The biggest problem lies with the characters and their motivation. Even if one could accept that these two women wouldn't wonder why their boyfriend could only see them for half a week at a time (each got three days with one day presumably to rest in between), their reaction to their discovery is never at all believable. Sure they get mad and there's some yelling and screaming, but the women never show one sign of jealousy toward the other.

It's as if there's an immediate female bonding created by them being hurt by the same guy. Whenever a plot involves a triangular relationship, sparks and conflict are certain to fly as the inevitable two-way alliances constantly shift among the involved parties. That's not to be found in this film that essentially becomes a straightforward verbal battle of the sexes. They are the innocent victims while he's the cheating pig.

That is, except for the fact that they then admit to behaving the same way as him (having outside sexual affairs while supposedly in a monogamous relationship). While that's supposed to be a surprising revelation, it only serves to deflate any reasoning behind the women's anger, and it also immediately destroys any sympathy we may have felt for them. From that point on, they just have to decide how to sexually divvy up their responsibilities amongst one another. Then, the movie takes an odd turn and abruptly ends, leaving the viewer obviously happy that this mess has concluded, but curious about whether they ever resolved anything.

There's also some material dealing with Blake's unseen, and ill mother -- apparently the only woman he truly respects and wholeheartedly loves -- that's assumedly supposed to explain his messed up psyche. As a subplot, though, it doesn't do anything but conveniently allow Toback the momentary opportunity to break up the threesome for some more intimate, two-way conversations.

In fact, despite Toback's efforts to jumpstart the production utilizing various techniques, including the too obvious use of the song "You Don't Know Me" in several scenes, and cinematographer Barry Markowitz's constantly active camera work -- that tries to find something interesting to focus on in this one-set locale -- this film runs out of gas long before the midway point of its short hour and a half run time.

Oddly constructed in that one-set stage design, the characters seemingly and illogically can't leave -- that is, of course, unless they have to make a phone call when they do disappear (for the above reasons) but then quickly return. Although one can understand the women sticking around long enough to enact revenge upon their boyfriend, or at least to get a satisfactory explanation for his deeds, they hang around as if they can't or don't want to leave.

If one is going to confine these characters to essentially one locale, the film had better feature some sharply written, clever dialogue. Yet, unlike films written by playwright David Mamet that have terrific, but occasionally "too good to be true" speeches, Toback's script is flat. Although there's lots of talking that eventually leads to some yelling and screaming, there are few sparks to be found here.

The only bright spot in the whole production is Robert Downey Jr. ("One Night Stand" and an Oscar-nominated performance in 1992's "Chaplin") who delivers a flamboyant, and always interesting performance. Although his character is completely unlikeable, you can't help but watch him, and his weasel-like reactions to the women's allegations provide the film with its limited, but much needed comic relief. A moment where Blake confronts himself in a mirror (about shaping up his behavior) is interesting and more than a little disturbing, and makes one wonder if perhaps it's based on some similar real-life moments. Overall, Downey delivers a full- blown, and occasionally over the top performance (true to the character he's playing) that's intriguing to behold.

The versatile, and recently quite busy actress, Heather Graham ("Boogie Nights," "Lost In Space"), and Natascha Gregson Wagner ("Lost Highway) have more limited and less flamboyant roles and don't bring anything unique to their characters that any number of other actresses could also have delivered. Wagner plays the spunky one with the machine gun delivery of dialogue -- and is the stereotypical male fantasy bisexual character interested in a menage a trois, while Graham only gets to play the upset woman who is determined to get the truth from Blake.

Despite Downey's bravado performance, there's nothing else in the film that warrants a recommendation. Feeling and looking like a filmed rehearsal for a stage play, it might have worked better in front of a live audience, but plays horribly in the (movie) theater. While the brief controversy about the film's rating may peak a few moviegoers' interests (they reedited the lone sex scene to lose the NC-17 status), don't expect this dud to last very long. We give "Two Girls And A Guy" a 2 out of 10.

Here's a quick summary of the film's content. One steamy, but mostly silhouetted sex scene occurs and goes on for several minutes. Besides that, there are many sexually related verbal exchanges between the three characters. Consequently, profanity is extreme with more than 70 "f" words and an assortment of others. A dramatically faked suicide by gunshot is graphically bloody, but obviously fake once we see that the "victim" is indeed alive. Disrespectful behavior abounds and the women get drunk in one scene. While it's questionable how many teens will want to see this film, some might. Therefore, you may want to read through the content to determine how appropriate it is for them, or for yourself should you wish to see it.

  • Blake thinks Carla is acting weird and asks her if she's "taking acid" (she's not).
  • Lou and Carla start drinking straight liquor and later appear to be rather intoxicated.
  • The women hear a gunshot and run upstairs where they find Blake, and the bathroom he's in, covered in an extreme amount of blood. They quickly figure out, however, that it's all fake.
  • Blake has both as he led Carla and Lou to think that they -- individually -- were the only women in his life. Beyond lying to both of them about being monogamous, he later admits to having affairs with even more women.
  • Blake also tries to turn everything back around on the women, stating that they're being abusive to him and that he's in misery due to their actions.
  • He also lies to his mother on the phone (about finding a body in his apartment).
  • Carla and Lou later admit to having sex with others while seeing him, although they told him that he was the only one.
  • A guy on the street looks over Carla and Lou and says, "I'm just checking you babes out." After Lou gives him the cold shoulder, he tells her, "A little smack might straighten you out."
  • Lou takes a plant, throws it through Blake's widow, and then kicks out the remaining glass to climb inside.
  • The women hear a gunshot and run upstairs where they find Blake and the bathroom he's in covered in an extreme amount of blood. They quickly figure out, however, that it's all fake and that he's done that to get back at them for surprising him.
  • Some viewers may not like Lou or Carla referring to Blake's philandering ways as "Mormonism" (which he later corrects as "bigamy").
  • Heather says, "Maybe we're not capable of monogamy. Monogamy violates some essential part of our natural being..."
  • The women hear a gunshot and run upstairs where they find Blake and the bathroom he's in covered in an extreme amount of blood. They quickly figure out, however, that it's all fake.
  • Handgun: Used by Blake during a staged, fake suicide "act."
  • Phrases: "Bitch" and "Chicks" (toward women), "D*ckface," "Scum bag," "Hard on" (sexual), "Jerk," and "Carpet muncher " (about lesbians).
  • Lou throws a plant through Blake's window to let herself into his place.
  • Blake fakes a suicide to get back at the women.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 71 "f" words (16 used sexually, 3 used with "mother"), 11 "s" words, 7 slang terms using male genitals (the "d" word and "c*cks*cker"), 1 slang term for female genitals (the "p" word), 10 asses (6 using "hole"), and 3 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "God," "My God," "Oh God" and "Jesus Christ."
  • The women make comments like "...and then he'd go inside you..." while talking about what Blake would compare that to.
  • Lou asks about Carla's reference to oral sex, "Oh, you did that with him? You gave him head?" They then talk about him "getting a hard on..."
  • They then talk about him telling them that his penis was attached to him, but belonged to them (and was "long and perpendicular to the Earth...and filled with oceans of cum...").
  • After calling him a "m*therf*cker," the other woman asks, "You think he did it with his mother?"
  • Blake leaves a message on Carla's phone saying that he's back in town and is ready to "perforate every orifice with my tongue..."
  • Carla asks Blake, "How women did you f*ck while you were in L.A.?" Although he initially says none, he later admits to many.
  • During his staged and faked suicide, we see Blake in his underwear.
  • In a scene that's nearly all silhouetted, Carla and Blake passionately kiss (standing up) in his bedroom loft. While doing so, she runs her hands around his crotch and then sensuously licks his face. She then goes down to his crotch (implying oral sex and later manual stimulation with her hand), but again we can only see bits of what's occurring. There's a great deal of heavy breathing and he then puts his face down near her butt, causing her to moan a lot and then turns her around (still standing) and it's implied he has oral sex with her. We see just part of her bare butt and see her in her bra.
  • Lou tells Blake that she would have "been ready for certain things" (three-way sex) if he had "done things right."
  • Carla admits to (and talks about) having had sex with several other men, while Lou admits to having had sex with several women (to which Blake calls her a "carpet muncher").
  • None.
  • Blake is concerned about his mother's health in several scenes. Eventually, we learn that she had died and we see his grievous reaction.
  • Monogamy in relationships.
  • Lou pushes a guy, who's been harassing her, backwards on the sidewalk.
  • Lou takes a plant, throws it through Blake's widow, and then kicks out the remaining glass to climb inside.
  • Lou pushes Blake backwards in his apartment.
  • The women hear a gunshot and run upstairs where they find Blake and the bathroom he's in covered in an extreme amount of blood. They quickly figure out, however, that it's all fake.

  • Reviewed March 23, 1998

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