Indecent Proposal Review
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In his 1987 thriller, Fatal Attraction, director Adrian Lyne brought another woman into the midst of a seemingly idyllic marriage—with terrifying results. In 1993’s Indecent Proposal, he brings another man—and his money—into the perfect marriage. This time, however, the result is a bit more perplexing.

Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore star as David and Diana Murphy, high school sweethearts who got married young and have been perfectly happy together ever since. Lately, though, they’ve been dealing with some financial setbacks. The economy’s taken a downturn, and unless they can come up with $50,000, they’ll lose the dream house that architect David has been working so hard to build.

On a whim, David decides to try his luck in Vegas. While he’s out on the casino floor, trying to save his dream, Diana meets John Gage (Robert Redford), a high roller who immediately takes an interest in her. Over the weekend, as David gambles his savings away, Gage befriends the couple. And, after dinner one night—following a discussion about what money can and cannot buy—Gage offers to pay $1 million for just one night with Diana.

Despite their initial misgivings, David and Diana decide to accept the offer, agreeing that, once the night is over, they’ll never talk about it again. But it soon begins to tear them—and their perfect marriage—apart.

Like Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal is a thought-provoking relationship study. It asks all kinds of difficult questions about love and money as it explores one couple’s story on-screen. It promises to be a fascinating story, too—especially with Redford playing the smooth, charming, and super-rich Gage, who’s used to getting what he wants, no matter how much it costs.

The problem, however, is that the characters don’t seem as genuine as they did in Fatal Attraction. In the beginning, David and Diana seem a bit too perfect. Their lives, their marriage…everything’s just too flawless. Then, later in the film, everything changes much too drastically, much too quickly. David becomes bitter and jealous—which, frankly, makes Gage look like the better man—and even Diana seems to walk away and move on much too quickly.

It’s an emotional roller-coaster—and it’s often heartbreaking. But, at the same time, it just doesn’t feel real. The characters’ feelings seem to flip-flop at the drop of a hat. It’s simply too easy—and, often, unnatural. And, as a result, the film doesn’t hit home; it doesn’t leave viewers with that haunting awareness that it could happen to anyone. So although it tells an intriguing—and even thought-provoking—story, Indecent Proposal just isn’t the compelling drama that it could have been.

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