Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A couple of weeks ago I saw and commented on a flick called ‘Good Dick’ which, truth be told, I found a might bit disturbing. That movie was about a weird dude basically stalking a disturbed disinterested girl in an effort to make her his own. Now I don’t know which movie came first but this brings us to today’s movie ‘Management’, which is about a weird dude stalking a not so disturbed, but clearly disinterested woman in an effort to make her his own. Personally, I do hope that the ‘stalking a bitch and forcing her to love you genre’ is a passing fancy and doesn’t take hold anytime soon.

Mike (Steve Zahn) is a night manager at his parents Arizona motel when the beautiful but distant Sue (Jennifer Anniston) checks in. Though Sue, a sales rep from Boston, is clearly a few levels above Mike’s pay grade Mike puts on the full court press by bringing her some ‘complimentary’ wine followed by some ‘complimentary’ champagne. So persistent is Mike, to point that he practically refuses to leave Sue’s motel room, Sue is forced to ask him what would it take to get him to leave. I’m thinking a call to the proper authorities would be in order but Sue coalesces to the stalker by tossing him something akin to tossing a dog a tiny biscuit. The next day Sue is about to check out but on a whim decides to do something for Mike in the laundry room which is the kind of thing that we only read about in Penthouse Forum letters. So if Sue tossed Mike a tiny biscuit in her hotel room, she has now tossed the puppy the equivalent of a juicy 32 ounce porterhouse. Tasty. Sue goes home to continue her life, Mike is convinced he’s in love and purchases a one way ticket to Boston.

Now the stalk is on for real as Mike shows up at Sue’s job, begs Sue to allow him to stay at her place and is constantly under foot until Sue finally convinces him to go back to Arizona. Still, Mike calls her constantly and does other stalky stuff despite Sue’s insistence that a relationship with an aimless motel night manager would never work.

Even when Sue up and moves to Seattle to resume relations with her wealthy ex-boyfriend Jango (Woody Harrelson), Mike follows her there as well. So while I’m thinking a restraining order is the next order of business, but Sue continues to humor the guy. But there is something about the guy… at least to Sue, not to me. And somehow… someway… love will blossom. At least I believe that’s how this is supposed to work out.

‘Management’, written and directed by one Stephen Belber, is not a bad movie despite how I may make it sound in my description of it. In fact, mainly due to the fine cast that Belber has managed to assemble for his little film, ‘Management’ is a pretty damned entertaining movie for the most part. Even though Steve Zahn’s character of Mike is fairly pathological, at least from my vantage point, Zahn infuses enough sad sack humanity into Mike that the audience does tend to feel for the guy and as such he never seemed particularly dangerous. As opposed to Jason Ritter’s character in ‘Good Dick’ who I thought was poised to rape and kill somebody at any given moment. It didn’t happen in that movie but I sure felt like it could. Jennifer Anniston, who is somehow better looking at forty something than she was at twenty something, was also good as the detached, emotionally confused stalkee, though I gotta admit we did find her characters actions befuddling at times. Toss in a couple of golden comedic turns by Woody Harrelson as a retired punker and actor James Hiroyuki Liao who played a friend in need to the character of Mike and you have a romantic comedy that was pretty darned comedic.

My whole problem with this movie was the ‘romantic’ part of the comedy because no matter how hard I tried to divest myself from the fact that this cat is stalking this woman, telling myself ‘it’s just a movie and just enjoy for what it is’, I could not divest myself from the fact that this cat was stalking this woman. Then I had to get past the character of Sue’s behavior, wondering ‘what the f@#k is she doing?’, apparently surprised that this loon is following her around the country. One quick blast of mace would’ve fixed all of that, but then it would’ve been an eight minute movie. And while this is a bit of a spoiler, we now have to believe that the stars have aligned in such a way that the stalker and the hottie, who is now pregnant with a wealthy man’s child, would leave the wealthy man to be with the stalker. Now we’re supposed to believe that the stalker has grown emotionally, but all the stalker has really grown into is leaving the previous life he was living, one dedicated to pleasing his parents, and entering another life dedicated to please somebody else.

But what do I know? Watching this dude stalk this woman was pretty funny, I just hope that dudes who lack game don’t watch movies like ‘Management’ and conclude that this is an acceptable approach to landing the girl of their dreams.

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