Auto Focus is a love story of a sort, about the symbiotic ante-upping relationship that develops between A/V geek John Carpenter (Willem Dafoe) and Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane (Greg Kinnear), who embark together on an odyssey of amateur porn and group gropes that only ends when Crane shows up in a Scottsdale motel room, bludgeoned to death with a tripod. Saddled with a laughable formal "hook"—as Crane's life goes out of control, so does the camerawork—Auto Focus works best as outright farce of sexual desperation, as in the scene of increasingly spooked-looking Crane switching a bar TV to Heroes—like Sutherland's Casanova imitating his own flyleaf portrait—when he's doing his evening's cruising.

Sideways (2004)

Director: Alexander Payne

Woody Allen in Deconstructing Harry
Woody Allen in Deconstructing Harry
Eddie Murphy in Boomerang
Eddie Murphy in Boomerang

Lothario: Thomas Haden Church

A dialogue between fidelity and inconsequentiality, connoisseurship and appetite, Sideways's two poles are represented by Paul Giamatti's Miles and Thomas Haden Church's aging soap-opera stud, Jack. "There are some things that I have to do that you don't understand . . ." says Jack, in a voice that speaks of surrendered self-control and the dilemma of a sex drive without a brake: The Guy Can't Help It.

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