If you see that a film's cast is toplined by Steve Zahn and Jennifer Aniston, you're going to assume it is a comedy of some kind, possibly a zany one, but Management is neither funny nor zany. It is a straightforward romantic drama about two people who dance the courtship dance awkwardly and hesitantly.

Zahn plays a lonely guy who is working and living in his parents' mop-n-pop motel in Arizona. He seems to be a nobody headed nowhere. He's handsome enough and there's nothing wrong with his brain, but he's in a place which is not unpleasant and from which he is not ambitious enough to escape. He's not lazy or incompetent, but he has no special dreams, and doesn't really have any strong desire to do something specific, so he's treading water, as we all do occasionally.

Aniston plays a corporate shill. She travels around the country selling crappy mass-produced art to hotels, motels, and medical offices, and she realizes this is trivial work, but she's dedicated to her job and seems to do it well. She also seems to have a great heart, because she's really committed to helping the homeless during her time off. Yet there is something about her that is distant, wary and possibly very lonely. She isn't willing to let anyone get close.

Until Zahn comes along.

When Aniston wanders into the Arizona motel, Zahn is immediately interested and comes up with the most obvious come-on possible. (The ol' "free bottle of wine delivered to your room in the evening" trick.) Aniston can see that it is a come-on and tries to usher him away, but within a minute or so she can see that he is as sweet and harmless as a lost puppy, so she softens and drops her guard just a little . We can appreciate her reaction because we can see in Zahn the same likeable, harmless, guileless qualities she can see. She also appreciates the fact that when she asks him to leave, he moves on without a protest.

She's there for a two-night stand. Zahn is back the second evening with a bottle of champagne and this time Aniston invites him to have a sip and talk a bit. She realizes that he can be trusted and that he likes her butt, so she volunteers to fulfill his fantasy. She invites him to touch her butt, on the condition that he leave immediately afterward. She is confident that he will actually hold up his end of the deal. He thinks the deal sounds pretty good, so he touches her bottom respectfully, and leaves when he's asked to.

The next day Aniston checks out and talks to him for a while. He asks for her phone number and she says no. He's confused by her mood swings, but he shrugs the rejection off and gets back to work. She sits in her car for a while, ponders the situation, comes back and seduces him in the laundry room. Then she leaves - without ever leaving that phone number. Zahn is understandably befuddled by her strange mixture of green lights and red, but he eventually decides to "go for it," and seeks her out at her corporate HQ in Maryland. She continues to run hot-and-cold on him, scolding him and encouraging him in turn. She lets him stay a day, then sends him back to Arizona and refuses to answer any of his phone calls or letters.

 And all of that is only the set-up! At that point the real film has yet to begin.

Zahn and Aniston play their roles with complete conviction and credibility, and this film has so many positive elements that I wanted to like it wholeheartedly. And I did for a while, and was completely engrossed in the characters and situations through all the developments described above. Unfortunately, the script ran into some real problems in the middle act. Aniston ended up moving to Washington state and getting married to her ex-boyfriend, a former punk rocker turned corporate magnate, as played by Woody Harrelson. Harrelson's character has no place at all in the movie. The elements that made the first act work so well were simplicity and credibility. Zahn's and Aniston's characters were complicated and genuine, and their actions were consistently believable. Harrelson, on the other hand, turned in a bizarre, creepy and over-the-top turn which seemed to be from another movie, presumably the wacky surreal comedy he probably expected to be in when he signed up for a film starring Steve Zahn.

The script also gave Zahn a bromance sub-plot with a character much like himself in Washington state, a guy too smart to be working and living in his parent's mom-n-pop restaurant. The friend was a good character, a funny and likeable stoner, and he played an important role in the film's exposition because Zahn needed to look into a mirror. Unfortunately, the script completely abandons the friend when his expository role has been fulfilled and Zahn has moved back to Arizona. This is frustrating because it happens just as we are beginning to like the friend and the comic relief he provides, and to feel that their friendship is one of the best things in the film. The shift of locales occurs without explanation. Zahn simply finds himself back in Arizona, busying himself at his parents' motel. That development makes sense for Zahn's character, who finally decides to move on from the hopeless task of stalking a woman married to a billionaire, but the abrupt transition destroys the friendship sub-plot. We see no farewell between the two friends, and there is no further communication  between them. The friend is simply dropped from the plot, with no explanation. The author owed us some kind of closure, however brief, on that relationship.

So it's not a perfect film, or a very commercial one, or even one that lives up to its promising first act, but it is an honest and mostly genuine film, and as I see it, that counts for a lot in a phony world.

IMDb: 6.6

Box office: a million dollars on a maximum of 212 screens. Aniston is an unusual case. Although most people say she's appealing and talented, she has no luck at the box office or with her personal romantic life. She's like the female George Clooney. (And that parallel is solidified by the fact that they both seem to have mated for life with Brad Pitt.)

RT: 46% positive

Metacritic: 50

Ebert: 3 stars

Berardinelli: 2 stars. I read his review after writing everything above and realized that his review is not much different from mine, although he reaches a different conclusion. He saw the same positives and negatives that I saw, but he assigned a significantly heavier weight to the screenwriting mistakes in the middle of the film. He felt the film's weaknesses dragged it down below the minimum level necessary for a recommendation, while I felt the film was still worthwhile in spite of the weaknesses.

Nudity: absolutely none, but this awkward scene between Aniston and Zahn is quite memorable  and touching, albeit in an odd way. Zahn touches Aniston's butt. In HD! It's such a nice scene that if Aniston had been courageous enough to pull her pants down, it would have easily won the "nude scene of the year" ballot, even with limited and brief nudity.


  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.










Linda Fiorentino film clip

Raw screen grabs


Unknown film clip

(Body double for Angie Everhart)

Raw screen grabs








Some notes:
re: Billy Zane and Ghost Ships

The first modern ghost ship slasher is actually "Death Ship" (1980) starring funhouse favorite George Kennedy. This movie preceded Dead Calm by nearly a decade. Not to mention the original "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972) which is the granddaddy of ship disaster movies. And let's not forget the opera 19th century Wagner opera "The Flying Dutchman". I wouldn't be surprised if the actual SS Titanic was sunk by Hollywood moguls wanting a plotline that could be recycled for well over a century.

re: Bound Heat films (the kingpin of Czechsploitation)

They're deleting Rapidshare video clips when links are posted, but stills must be safe because the Boundheat forum webmaster was commenting on the ones at, which has capped most of their movies.

Keep an eye open for true cinema greatness ...

"Paparazzi Princess" (formerly "Hollywood Brats"), a comedy about Paris Hilton but not starring Paris Hilton. It also features the shenanigans of Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan. DVD release October 20

Scoop's note: Great - that date will leave plenty of lead time for Oscar consideration.



Joanna Cassidy in Blade Runner


Sean Young in a scene deleted from Blade Runner

Jessica Alba in Awake

Recent Lohan sideboob (shopping in Beverly Hills Sept 1)

Naturi Naughton as Li'l Kim in Notorious, a contender for nude scene of the year.

Amy Smart in a frame from Crank 2.

(It's not what you think, but an illusion. Statham took off her panties AFTER this scene.)

Niki Huey on Entourage, s6e7

Ji-Hyo Song in A Frozen Flower




Film Clips

Diane Varsi in Bloody Mama

Giovanna Mezzogiornio, beautiful star of Love in the Time of Cholera, in a new film called Vincere.