IN HOUSTON TEXAS, 1962, A YOUNG UNDERPAID MEDICAL RESIDENT IN THE PLASTIC SURGERY UNIT, KEVIN SAUNDERS, IS BORED WITH FACIALRECONSTRUCTION. HE'S LOOKING TO MAKE IT BIG, BUT LITTLE DOES HE REALIZE HOW BIG BIG IS GOING TO BE... more ». SAUNDERS TAKES THE CONCEPTOF BREAST AUGMENTATION TO HIS SENIOR SURGEON.« less
Jeffrey Ellis | Richardson, Texas United States | 01/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Breast Men is a very good movie with a really bad title. Every time I see this entertaining, occasionally thought provoking film, I wonder how many other viewers, perhaps expecting to see a rowdy comedy full of sexual med school hi-jinks and nubile young actresses doffing their tops while a bad saxophone solo plays in the background, have angrily hit the stop button on their VCR and ripped the tape out. Oh, don't get me wrong. The film is, at times, very funny but its a rather dark humor that often time leaves the viewer (especially those -- and I must admit my own lack of innocence here -- who have sat through many a bad spring break comedy just to catch a few surgically enhanced boobs) chuckling to cover their own discomfort. And yes, the film does feature several bared, silicon-enhanced breasts. However, this is also the only film I can think of that actually graphically shows the possible negative results of implants and after seeing that, its hard to sit back and view fake boob jobs as just a harmless special effect. That extends beyond just this film. Ever since first seeing that scene, I have never been able to look at a surgically-enhanced actress the same way again. Whereas once I might have just said, "The bigger the better," after this film all I can feel is concern for the actress or any other woman who would actually put herself in such a risky position just to fit into some societal assumption of what beauty looks like.If all of that doesn't make it clear enough, Breast Men is about a lot more than just breast implants. It tells the true (though the facts of the story are obviously given a rather broad interpetation) story of the two Houston doctors who, in 1962, first perfected the silicon breast implant. First hailed as swinger pioneers for a sexist age, the doctors eventually have a falling out and spend the rest of their lives competing against each other and defending their invention against feminists and various social critics. The film becomes about how both of these men were both made famous and eventually destroyed by, what seemed at first to be, a rather harmless and quirky discovery. Director Lawrence O'Neil keeps the story moving but at times, his direction is a little bit too flashy. Often times, one gets the feeling that he is displaying style for the sake of style and he often times seems to rely on cliches in order to convey the passage of time as opposed to establishing a true feel for the many decades covered by the film. Therefore, the film's success is dependent upon the two lead performances and the screenplay. Luckily, all three are up to the task. As the older, more conservative doctor, Chris Cooper is wonderful in a role that doesn't allow for much showy theatrics. Playing a rather self-righteous cad, Cooper is often times unlikeable but always watchable and its a performance that will take those who know him only from American Beauty, Lonesome Dove, and various John Sayles films by surprise. The younger doctor -- who eventually becomes addicted to cocaine and is basically an all-around sleazebag, is played by erstwhile sensitive Friend David Schwimmer. Since Schwimmer has been typecast as Ross Geller, it is at first jarring to see him playing such a reprehensible character and in a few scenes, he does seem to be trying to hard to make us forget his more famous role. However, as the film progresses, Schwimmer eventually wins the audience over until, by the film's rather surprising ending, he is totally believable in the role. Schwimmer, in other words, proves that he can act and his performance leaves one curious to see what will become of him once Friends finally ends it run.Lastly the screenplay, by former actor John Stockwell, provides a quirkiness and originality that is missing from the film's direction. Stockwell, a Texan who obviously understands the mileu that produced both his two main characters and the silicon breast implant itself, was a likeable presence in several forgettable teen films in the 1980s (Losing It and Christine being the best known). However, it is as a writer and, more recently with Crazy/Beautiful, as a director that he has truly proven himself to be a viable and worthwhile talent. His screenplay is full of sharply humorous lines that manage to retain their bite even when the film's direction lets them down. As with his other screenplays, Stockwell creates memorable, deeply flawed characters who are interesting and watchable not despite but instead because of their flaws. As well, while his script isn't shy about exploring the sort of sexist humor and game playing that goes hand-in-hand with the whole industry of breast enlargement (this isn't a movie that compromises itself to be an easier pill to swallow), he also never obscures or overplays the dangers or the larger implications of that industry. Breast Men is many things -- a wild story that is all the more insane for being based on fact, a dark comedy, a vivid character examination, and a sharp examination of how we define and codify physical beauty. But in the end, it is a triumph for Stockwell, Cooper, and especially Schwimmer. Ignore the title and all that it may falsely imply. Instead, just watch the movie and enjoy the chance to discover some truly unsung talent."
Darker than you'd expect - with a surprise ending
Kelly Zurp | United States | 06/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Purportedly based on the true life doctors who brought us silicon surgical implants for breasts in the early 60's, I cannot vouch for how closely this movie sticks to the actual people or events. It is, however, an interesting dark study of a very controversial social and medical development, the men who brought it about, and the impact it had on their lives and the women who had their shapes modified.This is not a sexual romp, nor a light-hearted comedy. It is, rather, a formulaic drama containing the following elements:* The overly-conservative doctor who sees his peers enjoying medical successes and eventually siezes upon the original work of his protege to allow him to realize that success.* The stumbling, bumbling, about-to-fail student who comes up with an original idea that is eventually embraced and promoted, and who eventually resents his mentor for "stealing" his idea.* The uncaring scientific company that promotes its own solution rather that the safer solution originally presented.* A capricious society that overreacts in a number of ways to every turn of events.* The loving and supportive wife who sticks by her man despite his total disregard for her wishes.All of this lessens the film tremendously. But, to the film's credit, where we see the obvious clash of "good" and "evil" represented by the two doctors' post-split polar stances, I'm gratified to see that neither stance is presented as an absolute - there is bad in the "good" stance and there is good in the "bad" stance.The acting is generally good. Schwimmer shows more range that we're used to seeing, and Cooper steps somewhat (though not too far) out of his normal character. Both are believable; now, if only the script had allowed them to be more so. Emily Procter added a nice sparkle to the movie, and it was nice to see her in a somewhat different role, as well.Rather than being a "festival of boobs", the film was effective at looking at the concept of breast augmentation. I felt as if I were seeing normal women, understanding their views of themselves and their wishes, and then seeing the results of the work, whether beautifully and happily successful, overdone, or horribly disfiguring.As for the ending -- all I can say is that it comes quickly and you will be surprised.While not a cinematic breakthrough, this film is definitely worth watching."
Excellent and very, VERY interesting
Willa J. Dios | Holmdel, New Jersey USA | 01/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was a surprise. The acting was superb, and the characters were very, very believable. An excellent black comedy/drama based on the true story of the development, marketing, and psychological issues that went along with the invention of the silicon breast implant. A very believable rendition which will keep viewers' attention for many reasons right through to the surprising end. It's a keeper!"
Mildly engaging and amusing, rather forgettable movie
snalen | UK | 11/14/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is the Hollywood take on the history of the boob job. There are obviously at least two films someone with this particular brief might set out to make. The one is quite interesting, a piece of social history in which all kinds of interesting themes could have been explored. The other is a brilliant excuse to put an abundance of t & a (well, t anyway) on the screen, perhaps under the cover of a more serious movie purporting to be a piece of social history, etc. The second of these movies is what Lawrence O'Neil has mostly made. There is indeed an abundance of t on the screen. And there is a piece of not very strong drama limping alongside it. For the first half, this is more or less comedy and the two doctors Saunders (Schwimmer) and Larson (Cooper) try to sell their ideas for breast implants to their suspicious, offended and perplexed colleagues and potential patients. This is sometimes mildly amusing may be the most effective aspect of the film. Then it turns a bit darker as Saunders and Larson hit the top and start to quarrel and quite a lot darker as things sink into death, divorce and the litigation and recrimination of those who claim to have been harmed by the implants. While as comedy it is intermittently mildly effective, as drama however it's pretty shallow and forgettable and as social comment trite. Running through the film is footage from a fictional documentary about breast implants in which a parade of women appear on camera, talk a little bit about their body image or whatever, all very serious. ... The whole film is really a bit like that. As a slightly titillating drama made in 1997 based around the history of a somewhat squalid industry, in which a comic strand early on is crowded out by darker, more troubling themes as things progress, it has quite a lot in common with "Boogie Nights". But "Boogie Nights" is a much better movie."
Based on a true story, slightly augmented
Ronnie Clay | Winnsboro, Louisiana | 07/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"HBO has a great knack at taking bits of history which we never think much about, and turning them into incredibly entertaining movies. Example: This breezy, very clever satire about the rise and fall of the two inventors of the silcone breast implant.
David Schwimmer and Chris Cooper star as the two doctors who come up with the idea of the implant, and both play there parts very well. Say what you want about Schwimmer, (I never liked him in other roles), but he fairs pretty well here, as he almost constantly shifts from burnt-out loser to a man with new-found riches."