Here's a riddle for you: What do you get when you take the "brotherhood" aspect of sexual conquest in American Pie, grind it up with the interplay between younger males and older females in The Graduate, then filter out 99% of any possible laughs? You probably know the answer before I tell you, but just in case I'm referring to the grating, unpleasant direct-to-video comedy, Cougar Club. Plain and simple, this is an unfunny, infantile, and stagnant film that fails to follow through on a meagerly smart idea.
Cougar Club takes us along the path of recent graduates, studious do-gooder Spence (Jason Jurman) and the wilder "babe hound" Hogan (Warren Cole). Wedging into the business of law, Spence's desired field, is an arduous task for these two boys; the duo must take awful jobs at a law firm to obtain a letter of recommendation for entry into law school. To do this, Spence and Hogan must squirm around three horrendously scumbag attorneys (Joe Mantegna, Jon Polito, Scott Michael Campbell) that make our heroes' lives a raucous hell with ludicrous assignments. This includes sabotaging defendants in an effort to keep them from court, doing some light undercover work, as well as other unlawful activities - all for the recommendation from these unreliable heads.
Early on, you get really tired of hearing the two guys being referred to by the long strings of annoying explicatives that their employers toss out. It makes us remotely understand where the guys are coming from when they take the path that they do for a spot of extra cash, but it also sedates what could have been some great character efforts, especially from Mantegna and Polito.
During an errand to deliver divorce papers to the wife of one of the practice owners, the boys step in to an older women's passion party. There, Hogan runs into an old flame of his - a "cougar", if you will. That's the term thrown around here for the late 30's to late 40's women hunting for younger men. Hogan's old flame mentions that her friends are looking for some young meat and asks if he can round up a few lambs for slaughter. The two guys, in turn, transform this offering into an opportunity to establish the Cougar Club, an organization where Hogan and Spence charge younger guys to hook up with older women at random locations.
So we've got two twenty-somethings working as both scum-of-the-earth interns and as pimps for older women, including their bosses' wives, in Cougar Club. Believability is obviously not on the radar here, but we need something, at least a little something, to identify with if we're to suspend belief to such an extent. Neither Spence nor Hogan's characters give us anything to identify with, leaving us detached and searching for anything to focus on amidst an explosion of ill-conceived, juvenile infatuation. This search leads our eyes to random cameos from Carrie Fisher and Joanie Laurer (pro wrestling's Chyna), though neither add any semblance of the flair that they possibly could.
The big problem with Cougar Club is the fact that, well, its harebrained fireworks just aren't funny. At all. As one who can find humor buried somewhere inside most other goofball sex comedies, I thought that the marriage between the flick's inspirations might accomplish more. Counting the times that Cougar Club cracks a smile or rustles even a meager chuckle can be done with one hand. It tries really hard to be quirky with a lot of lackluster and sick jokes, but instead it just instills a whole lot of pain within a cloud of putrid testosterone.
Filled with loud cookie-cutter party scenes flailing about with absurdly ironic actions and far-fetched dialogue, we're working with an exercise of foolishness in Cougar Club that seems to exist for no other purpose than to bombard with haphazard craziness. Our two entrepreneurs, after scrubbing plants and cleaning bathrooms in suit and tie, hold their initial cougar "event" at their house while the parents are supposed to be away for one, I repeat, one night. I mean, we've got to give these guys a little more credit than this, right?
That's the way Cougar Club wants its demeanor to be, sadly, and everyone follows through with it. Its predictability swirled in with a brash, yet unaggressive, demeanor acts out a lot like a ball-and-chain around a raving hornball's ankle - it just makes a lot of noise without really doing anything. Instead of time passing by with grace and enjoyment during this comedy, your eyes fluctuate between the clock and the screen in anticipation for Cougar Club to either get funny or close up shop.
Brace yourself. Open Sky has released Cougar Club in a standard keepcase DVD with a slipcase covering its presentation. On the front, the stamp of "Topless Menus: Unrated" sits at the bottom. "Topless Menus" means exactly that: the two girls above take their tops off during each menu following the initial title menu. You get to select which "cougar" to view, based on your mood.
Edit: Thanks to several e-mails, I have made an adjustment in the review about the animated nude content in the menus. Apparently, it's more commonplace than I thought. Thanks for the heads-up, everyone!
The 1.78:1 anamorphic image shoots out loud colors and flesh tones well, but has a very digital look about it. There are a lot of interior shots, ranging from stale office floors to the confines of Spencer's house, and most of the lighting and tone looks fine on the presentation. Exterior shots embrace a similar quality, flushed with lurid shades across the rainbow. It's a nice, colorful transfer for a "colorful" comedy.
Cougar Club sounded fine with its Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment. Almost the entire film sits in the front speakers, utilizing nearly zilch in the multidirectional department. However, it's supposed to be this way as a dialogue-driven film. All the vocal treatment sounded just fine, without any distortion. Closed Captioned subtitles are the only ones available.
- Blooper Reel -
Plain and simple, the 5 minute blooper reel is funnier than the film itself. It's in a slapstick kind of way, but at least it'll give you a few kicks after you make it through Cougar Club.
- Cougar Outtakes -
Roughly 3 minutes of outtakes that could have been tacked onto the blooper reel.
- Deleted Scenes -
There's another 3 minutes of deleted scenes that would have added next to nothing to the film. Wise edits.
Lastly, a non-anamorphic Trailer is included that displays a lot of the attempted humor within its minute and a half span.
Cougar Club remembers to be fairly vulgar, but forgets to be humorous while doing do. Packed within unappealing characters and a smattering of misfired humor without a gratifying moment in its runtime, this is a comedic swan dive that would bring you less grief if you Skip It.
Thomas Spurlin, Staff Reviewer -- DVDTalk Reviews | Personal Blog/Site