(director/writer: Allison Burnett; cinematographer: Charlie Lieberman; editor: Sloane Klevin; music: Mark Fontana/Tom Charles Maxwell/Mark C. Sproull/Bron Tieman; cast: Lara Flynn Boyle (Ruth), James Frain (Victor), Jennifer Grey (Candace), Traci Lind (Connie the Waitress), John Slattery (Stefan), Dee Freeman (prostitute); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Oliver Eberle/Marco Weber; Vanguard; 1997)

“Insufferably boring, repulsive and artificially constructed.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

First-time director-writer Allison Burnett (writer of Autumn in New York) comes up with an indigestible male bonding film, that pretends it has something to say about male swingers and modern-day relationships but ultimately shows it has nothing to say about the human condition. The title is derived from guys who hang out together one Sunday a month in the gym to work out, eat red meat and gab about chicks.

The opening scene hasloudmouthobnoxiouswomanizing attorney, Stefan (John Slattery), and a nerdy would-be divorced screenwriter, Chris (Stephen Mailer), as the last of the ‘red meat’ group meeting in a restaurant. Both guys are jerks, and things don’t bode well when it gets established most of the film will take place in the restaurant with these two anti-hero losers gabbing away. Chris surprisingly encounters his friend Victor (James Frain), an actor who disappeared some time ago. Invited over to their table, Chris and Stefan lay on him a series of banal stories of women they seduced. These are shown in flashback. After these two losers run out of stories, Victor regales them with a tale about a dying cancer patient named Ruth (Lara Flynn Boyle) whom he was romantically involved with.

The stagy, ham-fisted, talkative film is insufferably boring, repulsive and artificially constructed, with stale theatrical dialogue to add to the viewer’s burden. If you should be in need of tawdry locker room chatter, you would do better hanging out in a gym than viewing this third-rate Neil LaBute psychodrama.

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