Main cast: David Corenswet (Michael Lawson), Thora Birch (Callie), Adrian Grenier (Rob Reynolds), Mimi Rogers (Judith Cabot Baines), David James Elliott (John Boland Baines), Grace Victoria Cox (Darcy Baines), Brandon Hardesty (Kevin Bidwell), Nathan Walker (Mad Cash), Eugena Washington (Tanya Jones), Faye Grant (Mary Maple), Bonnie Johnson (Gertie Hayde), and Richard Strauss (Jerry Todd)
Director: Eric Bross
After his Senator employer croaked from pancreatic cancer, political aide Michael Lawson and his IT-savvy roommate Callie are running low of funds and are about to be evicted from their apartment. Fortunately, our protagonist has his good looks, which allows him to shag his way through socialite Mary Maple’s good graces for an introduction to Rob Reynolds, the youngest and likely the most ruthless political mover in Washington, DC. Rob is manipulating events as judge John Boland Baines’s campaign manager and as it happens, Callie came across a clip of everyone’s favorite homophobic conservative judge munching on some guy’s banana in a washroom. I know, what a cliché. By promising to hand over the clip (without Callie’s knowledge), Michael gets himself employed by Rob.
Michael is ambitious. He wants to be a Senator too, although he claims he is doing it for the people. Meanwhile, because he is apparently so good looking that women immediately latch themselves on his penis five seconds after seeing him, he’s also doing John’s wife Judith. Things get complicated when he meets the daughter, Darcy, and she wants to do him too. As you can guess, he falls for her, or so he says. Meanwhile, Callie throws her weight to John’s opponent, and this creates problems because Rob is a bad boy who isn’t above mowing down those who are in his way with a well placed bullet between the eyes.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that Affairs of State is some nail-biting political thriller with the predictable anti-Donald Trump messages, though. The movie focuses more on the boinking action on Michael’s part than on genuine suspense, making this one seem more like some trashy soap opera from the 1980s than anything else. Even that, I hope nobody is expecting nudity or hot scenes because nobody really shows anything, and David Corenswet doesn’t even take off his pants in these scenes. It’s all just oink-oink-oh-oh-done-zzzzz. Because the political stuff only shows up in the last quarter or so of the movie, that aspect feels really rushed, like something the scriptwriter made up for some obligatory dramatic denouement.
Also, there is the problem of Michael himself. The script makes him come off like a fool. Sleeping with Mary Maple makes sense, as he’s prostituting himself to get something useful back, but sleeping with Judith and Darcy just seem like the antics of some hormonal fool. This is a problem because Michael is portrayed in the rest of the movie as anything but hormonal. Perhaps it’s just Mr Corenswet doing his best impersonation of a barely awake Ken doll here, but that character has all the emotional range of a body pillow. He just seems… bored… of everything. This movie needs a magnetic, sexual, dashing lead character as befitting the sexual manipulation he supposedly does with the women he encounters, and instead, I get this pretty but hollow shell of a guy. Seriously, I am not surprised when I look up Mr Corenswet and find that he was cast in Ryan Murphy’s new show, because he’s exactly that type of hollow, barely adequate pretty boy actors that litter Mr Murphy’s shows.
Adrian Grenier should have played Michael, if you ask me, as even when his role just demands that he grimaces and camps things up, that actor still manages to run rings around Mr Corenswet while oozing swagger to suggest that he may actually have a functional penis down there. Plus, he’s certainly easy on the eyes.
At any rate, this movie doesn’t know what it wants to tell its audience. For too long it’s some trashy sex-and-politics soap opera, then it abruptly introduces a “romance” that is made up of three or four scenes (very believable, snort), before deciding that it wants to be a political thriller way too late. Even the sleazy stuff isn’t sleazy, just boring. All in all, Affairs of State is just a sad state of blah.