The Middle Men is an important film for although it is also billed as a comedy it is full of truths about one aspect of contemporary society and although a work of fiction presented as a true story one suspects it is closer to several truths than will be admitted by the powers that be.
The film is also the story of another normal Middle American white male who in this instance has a flair for problem solving and agrees to help out someone in the process of creating a nightclub bar half way across the states from his family. He has married a local girl and has two children and they struggle to live at the level which their background and education has equipped them for.
He solves the problem and creates an effective business which he comes to own employing a group of heavies who he is able to call on for help when he asked to taken on another assignment of different proportions although this is not immediately apparent.
Because the lawyer contact is under Federal investigation he is asked to help sort out the business affairs of a couple of maniac college friends who allegedly created the US based Internet Porn business. One with a high IQ is a former NASA scientist, former because he became a crack head, and is alleged to have worked out the first programme which enabled people to buy goods and services on the Internet using Credit Cards. He does this in order to provide the first Internet Porn site originally pictures scanned from magazines. When this proves successful they have the idea to create their own porn film business and visit a local pole dancing club to do a deal with the owner, not appreciating that the club is owned by the Russian mafia. They do a deal in which they have unlimited access to the girls for 25% of the profits. The project is so successful that they make millions of dollars but fail to make any payments to the Russia and getting beaten up. The oversight was not intentional but they have become so involved with sex, drugs and drink and have no organisation or business sense. One point they leave an uncashed cheque for two million among other papers in a drawer.
Jack (Harris) played by Luke Wilson does not want to become involved with pornography but the lawyer explains that it is being a middle man like hotel owners who provides adult film channels. Jack then has the idea of creating business acting for the production companies and their Internet sites, including the TV channels where the purchase is itemised in a neutral way disguising the true purpose. For this they will charge ten percent offering the provider a vastly increased market as a consequence.
His first task is to buy out the interest of the lawyer who introduced him into the deal for two hundred thousand. His second is to broker a peace deal with the Russian Mafia boss who sends his Uncle for the outstanding amount which is said to be four hundred thousand to which he adds fifty thousand more as a good will gesture. Unfortunately the relative of the Mobster arrives in an aggressive mood and the leading heavy for Jack strike a blow to the man’s head which proves fatal. They dump the body at sea and Jack realises he is now committed to keeping a close watch on the partners because of their instability and tendency to talk.
The Russian is suspicious and there is a confrontation with a settlement of 50% of profits and the threat of severe retribution if it is discovered they had a hand in the disappearance of their relative.
At first he resent the time spent away from his family but over the years he becomes more and more attracted to the life and establishes a relationship with a young porn star nearly half his age.
His marriage breaks up and the porn star moves in with him, and despite giving 50% to the Russian they are each worth in excess of a hundred million with a major commercial and production centre. His now teenage son gets into trouble and Jack flies back to the East to blackmail those preventing the charges being dropped by revealing their record of Internet porn transactions.
At the race track he meets the Russians who advise that he is being watch by the FBI as well as themselves. They have someone trailing the FBI trailing them and overheard their interest in Jack. He arrives home one day to learn that the FBI have called on his mistress with a proposition which they then put to Jack when calling at his office, They have discovered that certain terrorists have become addicted to the site of his mistress because she does not have sex with others. They suggest she uses uniforms and weapons in her act and keeps them informed when she launches direct contact video services. They use internet tracking to locate the terrorists and carrying out successful strikes for which the government is appreciative for their efforts on behalf of the American people.
Everything then changes when the FBI arrive to advise that they have discovered the production company in which he is a partner is providing a child porn site and that in due course those involved will be prosecuted and sent to prison, including himself unless he can find a way out. They are not concerned about the manslaughter of one less mobster.
The situation arose because the lawyer introduced the partners to a contact who was able to provide more challenging sites and unbeknown to them this included those under age. Although alerted and intending to close the site they had forgotten to do so and then they spot the FBI meeting with Jack and assume he is selling them out over the child porn site when they see a handshake.
Jack visits the man responsible for the site at his mansion and finds a large sex party. He attacks the man and shoot him in the leg. He then sees his mistress with two hunks. He has her bags packed when she returns home and although has often said she feels no guilt about her life she pleads to stay needing the stability of normality of their life to counterbalance her professional life. He refuses.
He also discovers that the lawyer has been acting for the Russian mobster. It was he who persuaded the relative to seek double the amount which was owed and it he who introduced the partners to the child pornographer. The lawyer has remained aggrieved at being bought out so cheaply and has suspicions about the disappearance of the Russian. Now as pressure builds up in the partners about the child pornography and fearing the sell out to the FBI they share their knowledge of the disappearance with lawyer who in turn informs the Russians.
The consequence is that they set out to abduct his teenage son but instead take the young child of the Mexican housekeeper. Nevertheless decides to meet the demands for the release of the boy which is a huge amount of money. He fears for his life and has a talk with his son on the basis he may not return. He is asked to relinquish all his holdings to the new syndicate and agrees but asks for the contract to be backdate a year to avoid taxation on his earning of the year. This is agreed.
He returns the boy to the parents and he and his wife are reconciled. The partners are indicated for their involvement in the child porn site and try to take jack down with them The FBI point out that he sold out his involvement six months before the start of the criminal site. The Russian has also disappeared presumed to back to his homeland. It is another form of the American Dream
Since returning from the opera I have been listening to Miss Saigon while writing and have reach the point towards the end of the musical with the number the American Dream. One of those interesting coincidences of life.