Redford wants Moore
"Indecent Proposal" is a surprisingly clever movie; on the surface it poses the question would you let a loved one sleep with someone for a price. But it then examines the consequences of that, the emotional trauma for the husband as he deals with the aftermath of that one night, can he forget it, can he move on or will not knowing what happened plague him. We then have the extension of that one night which explores whether money can really by love or is it just buying friendship which in turn develops a more romantic sub plot. All of which is wrapped up with some stereotypical Adrian Lyne styling and by that I mean there are some memorable sex scenes and nudity. All of which makes "Indecent Proposal" interesting and entertaining on many levels but it doesn't make it perfect as the romance brings with it huge contrivances which you have to just accept.
David & Diana (Woody Harrelson & Demi Moore) met when they were at high school, they fell in love and married, like normal couples they argue but they make up and thanks to their careers, Diana's in real estate, David's as an architect are going to build their dream house. But when recession hits and money worries mean they may lose the land they bought they take a trip to Vegas to try and win the money they need. It is there that they meet billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford - Sneakers) who on seeing Diana becomes instantly smitten by her, so much so that he has a very unique and indecent proposal for the couple, $1,000,000 to spend the night with Diana.
"Indecent Proposal" is a movie of three parts with the initial part culminating in the proposition. We learn all about Diana & David, how they met, fell in love and married all of which is liberally smattered with Lyne's personality and by that I mean we have some beautifully choreographed sex scenes and nudity as Diana & David fight then have make up sex. We also learn of the dream, the house and the financial worries which lead them to Vegas where billionaire John sees Diana and becomes smitten with her. And as already mentioned this leads to the proposition, $1,000,000 for one night. It's an effective set up as we quickly warm to Diana & David as a couple, they face battles together and are strong, yet at the same time we quickly understand John who sees money as a way of getting people using it alongside his charm to get what he wants.
The second part of "Indecent Proposal" focuses on how one night of passion affects David & Diana in particular David who really struggles to cope with not knowing what happened that night and how it made Diana feel. We watch as he becomes convinced she enjoyed it and that he is losing her, which he is, but that is to do with his reaction to it all. At the same time we also have John trying to woo Diana, trying to charm her whilst impressing her with his wealth. Whilst I wouldn't say that this is a hugely deep look at the destruction of a relationship it is effective because we can appreciate how the not knowing eats away at David and how his paranoia drives Diana out and into the arms of John.
But it doesn't stop there and "Indecent Proposal" evolves again as David begins to understand what was causing him to become paranoid whilst John realises that whilst he may have won Diana she is still in love with David and no amount of money can buy you true love. The thing is that all of this comes at a cost because after quite a good start "Indecent Proposal" becomes a little far fetched, the romantic notion of it all and various romantic acts are just too much. The same with various meetings as John charms his way into Diana's life following her break up with David, the mansions, and the visit to the school she helps in is just too false. It's very much a case that whilst "Indecent Proposal" poses an interesting question and examines the consequences of infidelity, even allowed infidelity, the romantic side of the story borders on the fantasy and you have to just go with the flow.
Whilst Adrian Lyne does a good job of creating this mix of romance and regret it really works because of two performances. Demi Moore as Diana is superb through out and I don't just mean for being beautiful and sexy, she gives Diana this sense of heartbreak and vulnerability. You can really appreciate how much she loves David, willing to prostitute herself for their greater good and when he struggles with it it's like a betrayal. And Woody Harrelson is just as good as David because he delivers the paranoia of not knowing brilliantly, delivering the thoughtful remorse whilst also the physical anger. As such whilst Robert Redford may turn on the charm as John it is Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore who make the story work.
What this all boils down to is that "Indecent Proposal" is both entertaining and interesting because not only does it pose a fascinating question about money and love but also looks at the effects of infidelity from a different angle. Of course with Adriane Lyne behind the camera it is sexy, in fact at times it is seriously steamy but that doesn't end up detracting from the main story.