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"THE LOFT"
(2015) (James Marsden, Karl Urban) (R)


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QUICK TAKE:
Mystery-thriller: Five men who have been using a loft as a secret place to have affairs are all impacted when one of their female conquests is founded murdered in the condo.
PLOT:
Five successful married men decide to pool their money and buy a loft condo in the city where they can have affairs with one-night stands, prostitutes, and other willing women. One morning, though, the guys discover one of their conquests -- a blonde beauty named Sarah (ISABEL LUCAS) -- face-down, naked, chained to a bed in the loft, and cut up. Blood is everywhere, but it is unclear which of them did it.

Is it Chris (JAMES MARSDEN), a nice-guy psychiatrist trapped in a bad marriage to the eternally dour and pessimistic Allison (RHONA MITRA)? Is it Vincent (KARL URBAN), the guy who came up with the idea for the loft and the most eager to cheat on his unassuming wife, Barbara (VALERIE CRUZ)? Or is it Chris' unstable half-brother, Philip (MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS), a cocaine user who recently married Vicky (MARGARITA LEVIEVA), the daughter of a corrupt land developer? Or is it Marty (ERIC STONESTREET), the overweight friend who drinks too much and whose mistress has come to his house and revealed their affair to his wife, Mimi (KALI ROCHA)? Or is it Luke (WENTWORTH MILLER), the most tightly wound of the bunch who tries to keep it all a secret from his wife, Ellie (ELAINE CASSIDY)?

The film is told largely in flashback. But in the present, Police Detectives Huggins (KRISTIN LEHMAN) and Cohagan (ROBERT WISDOM) try to play good cop/bad cop with each of the five guys in their own separate interrogation rooms. During their questioning, they discover that Chris is not the nice guy he seems, having been carrying on an affair with prostitute, Anne (RACHAEL TAYLOR). Huggins and Cohagan come to discover that all five have something to hide.

OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
For films not screened for the reviewing press or very late the evening of release, we only provide a few paragraphs of critical analysis.

"The Loft" has one big claim to fame that no other motion picture (hopefully) will ever be able to tout. It's a remake of the highest grossing Flemish movie in history. Seriously! Other than that, there is nothing distinguishing about this flick at all. Avoid it at all costs, folks, especially if you are fans of any actor in it. The film centers on five truly scummy guys who pool their money and buy a loft condo together that they can use to cheat on their wives. One morning, these degenerates find one of their female conquests face down and handcuffed to the headboard of the king-sized bed in the owner's suite. She's been cut up and blood is everywhere. Earlier, the guys had set up ground rules, one of which was there was to be only five keys made for the loft that are to never leave each of their possessions. So, it has to be one of them, right?

The film is told as a poor man's "The Usual Suspects," with flashbacks piled upon flashbacks, a few flash-forwards, and possibly even one or two flash-sideways. Everyone seemingly has a secret or two (or seven). Oh yeah. The amount of double-crosses, betrayals, red herrings, possible suspects, possible motives, twists, and turns becomes quite ludicrous. Worst of all, there's no rooting interest here. We don't know which scumbag to pull for or against as the killer. And we don't know if we're ultimately supposed to hope that one or all of them manage to get away with it. Really, the only way this film could have worked was as a chronicle of male egos under pressure. When the film has the five guys interrogating each other in that loft, you can see what this could have been with a better script and committed performances. But the dialogue is all set up to lead us into the next flashback or flash-forward (we see each guy in his own separate police interrogation room answering for the dead woman's murder).

This movie was made in 2011 and has reportedly been passed around Hollywood like the wives and mistresses in this film. So, you have Karl Urban and James Marsden trying to stretch from their good-guy "Star Trek" and "Enchanted"/"X-Men" roles, respectively. You have Wentworth Miller of "Prison Break" playing a possibly closeted homosexual two years before he publicly came out of the closet in real life. And you have Eric Stonestreet of "Modern Family" -- way before he shed about 30 or 40 lbs. -- in one of the most hilariously bad examples of miscasting to show up on screen in some time. I know he's straight in real life. But there's just no way to buy the dude who plays Cameron as a lewd, crude, cheating, alcoholic husband.

I bet all four of these actors wishes this film was one corpse they could have gotten rid of for good years ago. I'll bury it for them with a 3 out of 10. (T. Durgin)




Reviewed January 29, 2015 / Posted January 30, 2015


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