Couldn't you picture a movie called 'Cougars, Inc.' starring Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Jason Segel, directed by Judd Apatow? A movie about a group of guys who put together an escort service that caters directly to lonely housewives. Now that would be a movie worth watching. The real 'Cougars, Inc.' stars Denise Richards and James Belushi. See how fast your dreams were dashed in just a couple of sentences?
This is a strange movie. It tries so hard to have that indie spirit. Scenes pass by with handwritten chapter headings. The lead, Sam (Kyle Gallner), tries his hardest to talk with witty hipster lingo. Even the premise has a slight possibility of making an interesting movie. In the right hands, a movie featuring a bunch of young guys going after older women could have been a modern day comedic version of 'The Graduate.' But, before we get ahead of ourselves, I must reiterate. This stars James Belushi.
Sam has been booted out of every boarding school across America. He's a ne'er do well who never seems to grasp the facts of real-life. He broods about his screwed up life and opines about it in his journal. He narrates the action for us, setting up the scene as if it needed setting up.
He's moved to a new school where James Belushi plays a hip headmaster. He's down with what the kids are doing. He knows the skinny and all that jazz. Sam, however, is finding it difficult to fit in. Soon he's told that his mom will no longer be paying his tuition. This wouldn't be that big a problem if Sam hadn't already made a few friends. Now he wants to stay, but how will he be able to afford it?
A night out on the town changes that when Sam meets Alison (Kathryn Morris). She's a lonely housewife with a failing marriage and an idea that getting it on with 18 year-old Sam might change all that. Soon after, they find themselves in bed with each other, Sam tells his friends. They concoct a scheme where a bunch of them will service the emotionally abandoned wives of the neighborhood. The women start coming out of the woodwork, paying Sam and his friends for sex and companionship.
'Cougars, Inc.' has the possibility to work as an R rated, raunchy comedy. It's too bad that a movie with a title like 'Cougars, Inc.' decides that it wants to be a solemn coming of age drama about a young man like Sam entering adulthood. It just doesn't work. Sam resembles a wastoid teenager that we'd normally see on 'SVU' talking about how he "Totally didn't rape that girl. She was totally asking for it." It's hard to feel anything for him or anyone else in this movie. Sam is creepy, but the women chasing him and his friends are even creepier. They're told to play this absolutely straight, and that's a problem. These are funny situations inhabited by serious characters. It all feels totally wrong. Not to mention Sam getting it on with the likes of Kathryn Morris seems universally unfair. Like some parallel universe has opened up and all of a sudden beautiful, intelligent older women are falling for creepy young kids who smoke pot and look like serial killers in training.
'Cougars, Inc.' comes to Blu-ray with a less than stellar AVC-encoded 1080p transfer.
Much of the film's presentation looks flat, lacking depth and dimensionality. Blacks are slightly crushing, orange and teal run amok. I found it hilarious that in the commentary Gallner comments about how "tan" he looks and how he's extremely pale in real-life. The director, Asher Levin responds with "Yeah, we tried," meaning the film is dreadfully oversaturated. Even Kathryn Morris, one of the palest people on the face of the earth, looks like she has tanned skin.
There are no technical problems to speak of, and the picture is free and clear of any artifacting, but the over saturation of the picture which produces coppery skintones is bothersome.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix for 'Cougars, Inc.' isn't anything to shout about.
This is a front-heavy mix with dialogue that seems overbearing at times. The dialogue is all intelligible, but it seems to be yelling at you with the way it's mixed. Sounds a bit harsh. Ambient sound is well-rounded for the most part. Lively parties are filled with music and frivolity that gets captured in the rear channels. LFE is present throughout the film, but mostly for the movie's soundtrack.
All in all, this is exactly the type of mix you'd expect from a talkative sex comedy such as this.
'Cougars, Inc.' is a nice idea that has potential, but that potential is wasted on this film. The movie plays its situation far too seriously, making it a chore to sit through. These kids, as hard as they try, just aren't funny or engaging. Instead of a hilarious romp about young guys getting with older women, 'Cougars, Inc.' feels slimy and dirty. With average video and audio, and a small sampling of extras I recommend skipping 'Cougars, Inc.' altogether.