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The Right Temptation

The Straight-to-Video-Erotic-Thriller doesn't get much respect, but there are good reasons for this. Essentially, there are only three templates to draw from: Hitchcockian Suspense (which generally results in film-student pretensions), Verhovian Sleaze (which generally results in late night Skinemax stupidity), or a Wild Things-like commitment to absurdity. Unfortunately, The Right Temptation (2000) fails to do any of these successfully. Rebecca De Mornay plays a private eye asked by the chain-smoking Dana Delany to spy on her rich and successful husband (Kiefer Sutherland). Delany prompts De Mornay to proposition her husband in order to see if he'd have an extra-marital affair. But when Sutherland and De Mornay hit it off, and De Mornay questions Delaney's motivations, she is sucked into a web of intrigue that reminds her of the last time she slept with someone she was supposed to be investigating (which also didn't end well). Since good and evil is delineated by who smokes and who doesn't, and the female leads are actresses about fifteen years past their prime, you can tell The Right Temptation will be a plodding affair. As a premise it's not bad, though familiar, and it could have been better had screenwriter Larry Brand put his script through a second draft (one wonders if the screenwriting software he must have wrote this with would let him), or had Lyndon Chubbick not been directing using a "film by numbers" book, or had the actresses either shown a little skin or used their age to the story's advantage — but everyone phones it in, and every frame is a missed opportunity for tension or drama. The genre requires lowered standards, but The Right Temptation is neither erotic nor thrilling, which doesn't makes it a part of the erotic thriller genre, but a part of the boring stupid genre. Columbia TriStar's DVD release offers a solid anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) or pan-and-scan, but since it's straight-to-video, the difference is negligible. Audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1, and the track is probably the best part of the disc. Trailers for this and four other CTHV pictures, talent files. Keep-case.
—DSH



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