A very quick and enjoyable read. I thought the basic premise and the over-all execution were solid, but I had a couple problems with the characters.
My experience with the military (friends and family enlisted) made it hard to suspend disbelief with regards to Rock's character. I can believe that the Army would go to ridiculous lengths to protect their butts--but I couldn't believe that someone who has made it up through officer ranks would not have more concern at the outset over the possible repercussions of doing a porn flick. The Army is fairly strict about image--especially when it comes to officers. The General recently demoted for sexual conduct would have had the conduct excused--except that there was publicity. "Thou shalt not create bad PR" is the eleventh commandment for the military, so I had trouble with suspending disbelief. I think that problem would have been easily solved for me, if Rock had been more hesitant and had had some more compelling reason, other than being a fan of porn, to participate. I also found it unbelievable that he would find out about the porn shoot and not do something immediately. Sure, he might like porn, but his expectation would have to be that he was going to get canned over this. If he knew about it in some way other than being in the balcony--which means he knows they are using his material in the flick--then I could more easily buy that he would let it slide. If he thinks it's a side gig that would be more believable to me.
I also had trouble with Dana's character. She was hard for me to like. Her inconsistencies made her seem very manipulative. One moment she's sobbing the next she's talking like a Marine. If the boo-hooing is genuine, then the harder 'I will rip off your head and shit in the hole' stuff seems out of place. If the latter is the real Dana then the crying jags seem purely manipulative (and they may be, given she tries to manipulate with sex and hiring an actor to play an INS agent) but that sort of manipulation does nothing to make me sympathetic to her. The lack of sympathy would be okay, if she was supposed to be an antagonist, but you seemed to want us to root for Jack to keep his relationship with her solid and I found myself wondering if he wouldn't be better off dumping her. Her manipulations are even less appealing given how easily she goes from "I will kill to prevent this:" to "I'm okay with this". The rapid transition there was both unbelievable and made her former manipulations seem like tantrums, rather than motivated by deeply held concerns.
Jack, too, seemed to drop supposed concerns without much of a fight and to flip his motives around a hundred and eighty degrees. I was left wondering what the initial fuss over makinng porn was about, when suddenly everyone was okay with it.
Julianna's character seemed somewhat inconsistent as well. Her statement that she is only charging Walter because she wants to keep her heart from being broken, if her mother doesn't approve of him, doesn't seem enough to justify her behavior there. And while I realize that people are inconsistent, it was hard to buy that she would want Walter to be legit when she wasn't. It seemed more likely that she was playing him. I'm not sure I can put my finger on why, but even her sceens with Dana didn't give enough of a sense that her desire for a 'normal' life were all-consuming and genuine. And she didn't come off as someone smart--who spoke seven languages etc. To give her that background it seems you have to work harder to explain the inconsistency with wanting Walter to be legit. If she is motivated by a desire to keep her future children free of the taint of the biz that would, for instance, make more sense than being motivated by her mother's opinion of Walter. (An opinion which could easily be manipulated, if the mother doesn't even know Julianne is a prostitute.) And Julianne is a woman who will do pretty much anything for money, so I needed more explanation of why she would want Walter to give up a major source of cash flow.
I thought Walter was the most consitent character and thought it plausible that he would assert himself and his idenity as a porn king at the end--but I would have liked to have seen him a little more torn over the repercussions for Jack. They are supposedly friends and his actions substantially threaten Jack.
Those criticisms aside, I did find the piece enjoyable, The comedic elements are there. I think you could hieghten the drama a bit--have Jack more conflicted and in more of a pickle (no pun intended--well, maybe a little). Jack seems to get into the spirit of things in the end and that tansition loses some of the drama. If he stays terrified of being caught (I don't think, for instance, that he should tell Dana--he should be worried about her catching him) that adds more of an element of drama to the comedy and gives the audience the oppertunity to wonder how Jack is going to get oiut of this one.
I thought both Jack and Rock's potential for comedy would have been served by more tension about what the Army is going to think, if they find out.
Nice job over-all, however, and good luck. This has the makings of a hilarous farce.
Review of: Why We Fight (TS Revision)
reviewed by Kristy Sumner on 12/05/2005
Other Reviews by Kristy Sumner 64
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