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A review of "The Loft" (2014)

I'm going to have a hell of a time justifying why I'd recommend that anybody watch The Loft.  I like to say that I never take guilt with my pleasures, but then I saw this... and I'm pretty sure this is what most people feel when they call a movie a "guilty pleasure."

Let me be perfectly honest.  This movie is pretty dumb.  Like, smack you in the face dumb.  It didn't totally sink in for me how dumb it was until I thought about it after the fact, but oh yes, this movie is dumb.

It's a thriller about five well-to-do dudes who share ownership of a snazzy, secret apartment in downtown Generic City.  The point of the secret apartment is to have a place where they can get away whenever they want to have an affair - which at least one of them, played by Karl Urban, has on a practically daily basis.  Only the five of them have keys to the apartment, and supposedly only the five of them know about its purpose.  Unfortunately, one day they find a dead woman inside, and nobody will admit to knowing how she got there.

The first thirty minutes or so are spent on a lot of exposition, which isn't totally necessary.  Much is made of the sex-pad and there's a lot of condemning shots of the five guys, either individually or as a group, that imply we should be criticizing their every move.

But at least one of the guys, played by James Marsden, doesn't have totally illicit intentions in mind.  Marsden's character is trapped in a loveless marriage that he plans to end, and he only makes use of the titular loft when he meets a woman who rekindles his sense of romance.  Another one of the guys, played by Wentworth Miller, is more of a pervert than a cheater; he doesn't actually sleep with anybody there, he just gets off on... other stuff, which is technically a spoiler.

And still another guy, played by Eric Stonestreet, may or may not actually use it at all.  Stonestreet is an oafish dork who talks a big game, but the implication seems to be that he can barely manage to keep his wife interested in him, let alone all the cute women that his buddy Karl Urban hangs out with.  The one affair we explicitly see him have is framed as a mistake brought on by bad judgement, alcohol, and desperation.

So, basically, the movie is about Karl Urban inviting his four bros to hang out at his fuck pad where he screws everything that breathes.  I guess he likes the thrill of knowing that they know how much sex he has.

But now I'm getting away from my point, which is about how extraordinarily dumb this movie gets.  And I can't talk about any of that without spoiling it, so be warned.

Y'see, it turns out the dead woman is one of Karl Urban's many exploits, with whom he had a long-term affair.   He dumped her the night before, and Wentworth Miller discovered her the morning of the movie, apparently dead from suicide by pills.  Miller called everybody besides Urban and revealed to them a bunch of shitty secrets that Urban had been hiding - all of which involve him having sex with somebody they would prefer he not have sex with.  The four guys then decide to frame Urban for murder by repositioning the woman's body and tossing the apartment around to make it look like he did some nasty stuff to her.

This is the movie's first big shocking twist, and then shortly after that, we get into the second.  Y'see, it turns out that the woman didn't kill herself after all.  She was actually alive and well when Miller got to the apartment, but in a jealous rage - apparently he had been pining for her for months - he spiked her drink so she could die and... what, be beautiful forever?  I'm not sure I understand this part of his plan, to be honest.  "I love you so much, I want you dead."  I mean, sure, I guess, he's a murderous stalker type, why not.

Anyway, so then Miller engineered the fake suicide in order to get the other three guys to help him frame Urban so he could enact petty revenge. But it turns out that the woman survived the overdose and was actually alive when the guys got to the apartment the first time, but then, as a result of their meddling, she was killed for real, which means that one of the guys directly murdered her and all of them indirectly killed her.  But Marsden seems to think that really, the only one who killed her was Miller, so he confronts him and they have a fight in the rain.  Then Miller realizes the cops are coming back, so he kills himself.

In the aftermath, Marsden divorces his wife and hooks up with the woman he had been having an affair with.  And he's also free.  And lives happily ever after, I guess.  Despite being an admitted accessory to murder and having confessed to tampering with a crime scene and framing another guy for murder.  But whatever, he's good-looking and has basically nice intentions.

Come to think of it... this movie doesn't have too much to say in the way of condemnation of adultery.  It frowns on cheating, sure, but it does so in the light, brainless, Lifetime original movie kind of way where adultery isn't really thought of as the side effect of a much bigger problem, and instead it's just something you do if you're an idiot.  And considering that this is a movie about the exploitation / casual dismissiveness of women, it's a bit weird that none of the actresses have much screen time where they do anything other than have sex with the main characters and/or complain about them.  It's a little bit hollow, isn't it, to sneer at womanizers for their inability to see women as props when that's pretty much all you're doing with them, too?

But... uh, yeah, I had fun watching it anyway.  I think there's just something about the "five blankety-blanks are stuck in a blank and have to figure out who did blank" premise that always gets me.  This is just like Unknown all over again.  Both - 2006 and 2011.

Um. I don't think I have much of a defense here.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5