The One Where Ross Boobs
"Breast Men" is not the sort of movie I generally watch, but as it stars David Schwimmer and Chris Cooper I thought I would give it a go. I was quite surprised by what I watched as I was expecting a low budget comedy, with a very lame plot and plenty of nudity to titillate you. But what I watched was a semi-lighthearted drama, interlaced with documentary style footage of women discussing their breasts, a story which demonstrates the risks of breast augmentation surgery whilst showing early aspects of the treatment and yes, a lot of naked breasts and general titillation. To be honest, "Breast Men" left me confused as to what it was trying to be. As a drama with a serious message it is somewhat ineffective, and as a comedy, attempting to titillate you through the nudity, it is very lack lustre, although I am sure teenage boys will love it.
It's 1962 and nerdy Kevin Saunders (David Schwimmer) is a junior doctor in the world of cosmetic surgery. Fed up at being labelled a 'make-up artist', he longs for medical greatness and inspired by the advertisements of women's miracle creams, which claim to enhance and enlarge their breasts, he sets about creating a new and safe breast implant. After much derision from the medical establishment, he finally convinces his mentor and chief cosmetic surgeon, Dr. William Larson (Chris Cooper - This Boy's Life), of his invention, and together, they go into business and set up a clinic for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. After a slow start, business goes into overdrive and as more and more women queue up for breast augmentation surgery; the surgeons start to reap the fruits of their labour as they become ridiculously wealthy. But after a row over the share of the profits, they become bitter rivals and set up competing clinics, attempting to put each other out of business. Will one of them win? Will something else put them both out of business? Is anyone still interested?
The storyline to "Breast Men", which I believe to be semi-fictitious, mainly focuses on the character of Kevin Saunders, through his invention of the breast implant to being a successful cosmetic surgeon and onto his decline into a world of drugs due to his new found celebrity status and some dubious clients. For the first two thirds of the movie, it meanders along telling the story but not really going anywhere. It is not until the row that "Breast Men" picks up any real pace, as Kevin is forced into plying his trade in the world of porn stars and strippers. This change of emphasis gives the movie some spark until the last 10 minutes, where they provide a complete cop out in an attempt to find an ending for the movie.
Playing the lead role of Kevin Saunders is David Schwimmer and although there are some similarities between his character in "Breast Men" and his best known role as Ross in "Friends", I found it very hard to completely disassociate his performance with the latter. Even with this problem, he still manages to put in a couple of good scenes, one which sticks out in my mind, is when he attempts to talk a woman into allowing him to make a plaster cast of her naked breasts. Having managed to convince her, his nervous and clumsy manner of applying the plaster is very funny.
Opposite Schwimmer, playing his partner and mentor Dr. William Larson, is Chris Cooper. Sadly this is by no means a good performance and at times his acting comes over as distinctively wooden. Other than David Schwimmer and Chris Cooper, no one really has that bigger part, and even the character of Laura, Kevin's wife, does not add anything to the story. If you excuse the puns, I felt that the majority of the acting was very plasticy and the casting director had boobed in casting Schwimmer in this role.
"Breast Men" is directed by Lawrence O'Neil who has created a very strange mix of drama and documentary, which in my opinion, fails to work. I am not at all sure as to what he was trying to achieve by doing this, but at the strangest of moments the movie jumps into documentary style with the camera focusing on a woman's breasts, as she talks about them. This makes "Breast Men" very disjointed and spoils an already mediocre movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Breast Men" is not the worst movie I have ever seen, but in the same breath, it is far from being a good movie. If anything "Breast Men" is plain confusing, not because of a complex plot, but because it does not know whether it wants to be a drama, a comedy, or a documentary. The story, although interesting, was never explored to its full potential and the insertion of documentary style snippets spoils the flow of the story. On top of this, you have some below average performances, leaving the "Breast Men" a bit of a mess.