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Thursday, November 14, 2002

Just a gigolo

Movie: The Man From Elysian Fields

Posted on Thu, Nov 14, 2002 at 4:00 AM

***1/2
The Man From Elysian Fields
Length: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Studio: Fireworks Pictures
Website: http://www.elysianfieldsmovie.com/
Release Date: 2002-11-15
Cast: Andy Garcia, Mick Jagger, James Coburn, Julianna Margulies, Olivia Williams
Director: George Hickenlooper
Screenwriter: Philip Jayson Lasker
Music Score: Anthony Marinelli
WorkNameSort: The Man From Elysian Fields
Our Rating: 3.50

Bitter on the surface but with a marshmallow center, this is the not-quite-there story of a struggling California novelist (Andy Garcia) who takes a second job as a high-paid gigolo. While the premise suggests wicked satire, the tone is closer to chick-flick goo as Byron Tiller (Garcia) tries to keep his nocturnal missions a secret from his long-suffering wife (Julianna Margulies), and succeeds for a surprisingly extended period of time. In the interim, he also strikes up a working relationship with a terminally ill author/mentor (James Coburn, doing his best Ernest Hemingway), and the picture momentarily becomes a strange melange of over-earnest sex comedy and literary buddy picture. ("Fucking Forrester"?)

Stick around for the recurring appearances of the uproarious Mick Jagger, who plays the bon-vivant head of an escort service staffed almost entirely by aging rockers. (Ex-Detective/Power Station vocalist Michael Des Barres is also part of the stable.) Prancing his way through the tailor-made part of a male hooker approaching the end of his vitality, Jagger obviously relishes every self-mocking moment. You even get to see him turn down money, and what were the odds that would ever happen in our lifetimes?

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