'Pocket Listing': Film Review
Rob Lowe and Burt Reynolds are featured in this satirical thriller set in the world of Los Angeles real estate brokers.
Watching the new satirical thriller Pocket Listing, several questions come to mind. For instance, how is it possible that Burt Reynolds, an Academy Award nominee who, for several years running, was the biggest movie star in the world, now is reduced to bit parts in B-movies such as this? And what the hell kind of wig is Rob Lowe wearing on his head?
There’s plenty of time to ponder these and other weighty issues during the film written by and starring James Jurdi, set in the apparently vicious world of L.A. real estate. That’s because the convoluted proceedings rarely hold our interest, despite a plethora of plot twists and nubile young actresses performing gratuitous nude scenes.
The story revolves around ruthless real estate broker Jack Woodman (Jurdi), who works for a large Los Angeles firm headed by aging CEO Ron Glass (Reynolds, playing a character whose name distractingly corresponds to the recently deceased Barney Miller actor). Glass treats Jack like his own son, much to the dismay of his actual son, Aaron (Logan Fahey), a drug-addicted, dissolute playboy who plots revenge against his usurper.
Aaron’s scheme, revolving around a run-down apartment building in a blighted downtown neighborhood, results in Jack nearly going to jail, losing the trust of his mentor and being forced to work as a live-in super in the dilapidated building.
Jack thinks he’s found career salvation when he’s improbably enlisted to quietly sell a lavish Malibu estate owned by a shady businessman (Lowe, hamming it up) and his sultry, gorgeous wife (Jessica Clark). But, this being a film noir, or at least a satirical version of one, our hero soon finds himself in way over his head, embroiled in a plot involving the duplicitous wife, Russian mobsters and numerous other bad guys.
The screenplay, incorporating direct addresses to the camera and fantasy sequences depicting Jack as the star of a reality TV real estate show, throws in nods to Casablanca and Chinatown, with Jack at one point sporting a large bandage on his nose. These references are obviously meant as homages, but merely serve to demonstrate how much Pocket Listing is out of its league. Meanwhile, director Conor Allyn’s idea of enhancing a fight scene is employing such stale devices as freeze frames and split screens.
Jurdi is unconvincing in both comic and action mode, and Lowe proves unable to garner comic mileage from such lines as, “Strong, like bull!” Reynolds’ once formidable charisma is now sadly muffled, with his jet black painted eyebrows and mustache making him bear an unfortunate resemblance to Groucho Marx.
Production companies: Helios Productions, MythMaker Productions
Distributor: Orion Pictures
Cast: James Jurdi, Rob Lowe, Burt Reynolds, Jessica Clark, Logan Fahey, Noel Gugliemi, Ken Davitian
Director: Conor Allyn
Screenwriter: James Jurdi
Producers: Frederick Cipoletti, Naji Jurdi, Alejandro Salomon
Executive producers: Bradley Jabour, Victor Najjarian, Saud Shawaff
Director of photography: Amanda Treyz
Production designer: Alessandro Marvelli
Editors: Nic Hill, Brett Solem
Composer: Sean Murray
Casting: Dominika Posseren, Janelle Scuderi
Rated R, 92 minutes