“The Human Contract” seems to be a cookie baked in the Smith family. Jada Pinkett Smith is the writer, director, and actress, Will Smith is an executive producer. It catches the viewer, because it starts almost abruptly in a bar, with the handsome “Julian Wright” (played by “Zero Dark Thirty” and not only, Jason Clarke), in a sort of “light but not so light” flirty conversation with the alluring “Michael” (Paz Vega). The woman seems experienced in all sort of psychological handling, and Julian is hooked. The spell is unfortunately broken by Julian’s occasional mistress joining, “Brenda” (Tava Smiley). Fine, or almost fine, quite exciting. The couple went home to make sex (the only reason for their meeting) and we discover a very submissive Brenda, who also fakes her orgasms, with a rude and violent alpha male (or so I think he is in the filmmaker’s head). Julian, the alpha male is a corporate marketing executive, in a corporation on the way to be gulped (but not without a fight) by a bigger one, with disposable billions of dollars, thing we are to find out about, in the morning.
As a parenthesis, I have to mention that the above picture is the only decent one of this movie, on imdb.com, and I’m not going to make again the mistake to put something too enticing on this site, because it is the main reason to attract nsfw sites to back link with you. Not even the poster is to be exposed. But let’s continue with the story.
What we don’t know until almost the end of this pathetic movie is that Julian harbors a “dark” family secret. Between us, let me confess that it’s almost predictable, but I don’t want to break your expectations.
Next day, we meet his boss played by Ted Danson, along with a sort of bodyguard partner played execrably (like Clarke himself, actually) by the British heartthrob Idris Elba, and his secretary or personal female assistant “Cheryl” (played by a younger looking Anne Ramsay), also enthralled by Julian’s testosterone.
They celebrate the potential “merger” announcement, without drugs or alcohol (we’re not on Wall Street here), Julian, Cheryl and Idris Elba’s character being an “unbreakable team” and all. Later, Julian went to his childhood’s place, inhabited now only by his mother, very unnaturally forgettable played by Joanna Cassidy. I hope you understand that I only want to put you on track with the action and to justify somehow my patience to watch it to the end, it’s not in my intention to spoil it. A lot of what I expose here, happens in the first ten minutes or so.
Here, at the house, we quickly understand that “mother” is a religious freak, a little bit “gone with the wind”, who can’t stand Julian’s little sister, “Rita” (or is she the big one, I really don’t remember and it doesn’t matter, believe me), played also forgettable by the director/screenwriter herself, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rita is apparently homeless with two adorable twins. Oh, and I almost forgot, Julian is divorcing as well, but we don’t know any detail at the moment, it will be revealed in time. Rita is haunted by a violent husband or ex husband, anyway forgettable and not positively helping the film’s pace.
Julian frantically starts to work to his presentation for the merger, he’s inseparable from his MacBook Pro, and one of those days, driving home or to his mother’s, he is passed by chance by a convertible where he recognize Michael, the intriguing free spirited character with a male name, played by the uninhibited Vega. From here on, you wait to see if this is a scam or not, and if there is a secret in Julian’s past, what it could be, you wait for a nice turn.
It never comes, and you regrettably discover that you lost your time with this poor movie, with such a great potential. A 5.1 imdb rated, barely a 4 by me, it’s a 2008 release I don’t recommend. It’s a psychological flop made worse by the lack of credibility in acting, especially in Clarke’s one, even if Vega is nothing more than you expect. She’s fine, she’s the only interesting one here. The cookie has a wrong taste, Mrs Will Smith forgot some essential ingredients.
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