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Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ted Danson, William Fichtner, Patrick Fugit, Lauren Graham

Director: Michael Traeger

THE MOGULS is about achieving something in life. Through porn!

Andy, (a well-cast Jeff Bridges) feels inadequate. He’s a run-down middle-aged guy who has accomplished nothing, has nothing to show for it, is divorced and can’t even buy his kid a decent birthday gift. But he’s a good-natured fellow and out of his assortment of amiable (but equally inadequate) low-life friends, probably has the most potential.

In a desperate attempt to create something of himself, Andy gets the idea to become a filmmaker. He gathers his mates together and convinces them to pitch in and make a movie together. There’s only one twist: it’s a porno!

While Andy’s gift of the gab is partly accountable for convincing the group to participate, most of the credit must go to their collective gullibility and dim-wittedness. Having been involved in a number of Andy’s previous schemes, they trust him with a blind faith, and naked gals in front of a camera aren’t that different from selling vitamins in a pyramid scheme. So this group of misfits from small-time America (yup, it’s one of those towns where everybody knows each other) set about producing pornography.

The very idea of it could be offensive, but THE MOGULS is made in a way that hardly ever treads into distasteful terrain. If this were a teen comedy, it would bank on gross-out gags to fund the laughs. But this is a film featuring mostly middle-aged characters, and because of that, it relies on other, more inventive, kinder-on-the-eyes methods of comedy. It shows adult restraint and in this way steers away from rudeness and repetitiveness.

It’s funny. It’s not fantastically funny or convincingly clever, but it does work. Above all, what makes it work is a good script and a handful of notable performances.

There’s risk involved in making a no-budget indie like this, luckily the gamble pays off for the actors, who really do pull the film together. Aside from Jeff Bridges, Tim Blake Nelson (O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?), Joe Pantoliano (THE MATRIX), William Fichtner (ARMAGEDDON), Ted Danson (BECKER TV series), John Hawkes (ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW) and Lauren Graham (GILMORE GIRLS TV series) to name but a few, star in memorable roles. You will recognise virtually everyone in the cast. And they all do a good job.

THE MOGULS is a charming, entertaining film more about camaraderie and hope than about sexy girls baring their breasts. So while the film revolves around pornography, the only thing you’ll get here is the idea, and, maybe, the inspiration to do something with it.

4 out of 6 stars