Disclosure * 1/2
(Century 16, Century 12) Michael Douglas is Tom Sanders, a middle-management executive at a Seattle high-tech firm. On the eve of an important merger, he discovers he is being passed over for a promotion. Enter Demi Moore as Meredith Johnson, ready to give Heather Locklear some serious competition in the short skirts department. Sure enough, Johnson is given the vice-presidency Sanders hoped to get in this painfully predictable, albeit occasionally provocative corporate "drama" directed by Barry Levinson and based on the controversial Michael Crichton best-seller of the same name.
Ignoring his basic instincts about Johnson--an old girlfriend--the now-married Sanders finds himself fatally distracted after she makes some seriously aggressive moves and he has a last-minute, we-shouldn't-be-doing-this attack of morality. The next day, the livid Johnson cries "sexual harassment." So does Sanders. But the powers that be close ranks around Johnson. "You're repressing," DigiCom's thin-lipped, oily-haired general counsel (hint: he's one of the bad guys) tells Sanders.
In his novel, Crichton explores the sex-in-the-workplace politics of the '90s by putting a man in the position of the "victim." Like much of Crichton's work, the book and film versions of "Disclosure" are entirely plot-driven, with flat ciphers of characters populated throughout in order to advance Crichton's thin story. "He said, she said," with all the tedious mediation sessions that accompany, cannot carry a feature-length film. So it's little surprise that the movie makes a jolting detour just past the halfway point. All of a sudden, "Disclosure, Part II" has almost nothing to do with the first half. To plot shift: DigiCom's upper-level managers want to oust Sanders from the company in order to expedite that merger.
Wake me up when it's over.
If you can suspend massive amounts of disbelief you might be able to enjoy some decent performances and be able to buy what passes for dramatic logic here. But like DigiCom's flawed virtual reality product, this movie is chock-full of bugs. More a showcase for high-tech gizmos and doodads than anything else, the screenplay doesn't even offer Douglas' character an interesting trail to The Truth. He simply overhears a conversation and then realizes what the corporate bad guys are up to.
Viewers who will find the most to appreciate here are men in the winter of white male discontent, who will thrill at seeing Moore's sexually aggressive, hard-bodied corporate-climbing character get her come-uppance in the end. Rated R. 2 hours.