Movie Article

Terms of Endearment

Women as commodities in film -- Current movies ''Indecent Proposal,'' ''Honeymoon in Vegas,'' and ''Mad Dog and Glory'' set women up as the property of men

Year of the Woman or not, we think Hollywood still doesn't get it. In three recent films, including Indecent Proposal, women have become a commodity again. In each a female character is either sold or lent, like chattel, to a man. Is this the postfeminist movie heroine? Here, the art of the deal:

Indecent Proposal The Goods: Demi Moore, the loving wife of sensitive architect Woody Harrelson. Deal/Price: To help pay their mounting debts, Moore agrees to spend the night with billionaire Robert Redford for a fee of $1 million. Selling Point: She's beautiful, sexy, and susceptible to seduction. Renegotiation Option: The couple's cagey lawyer insists he could have gotten them at least $2 million. Caveat Emptor: Moore still loves Harrelson.

Honeymoon In Vegas The Goods: Sarah Jessica Parker, the sexy schoolteacher fiancee of noncommital detective Nicolas Cage. Deal/Price: After a high-stakes poker game with gambler James Caan, Cage gives Parker to him for a weekend to settle $65,000 debt. Selling Point: Parker is a dead ringer for Caan's deceased wife. Plus she looks good in skimpy outfits. Renegotiation Option: Caan eventually offers Parker $1 million for her hand in marriage. Caveat Emptor: Parker still loves Cage.

Mad Dog and Glory The Goods: Uma Thurman, a female bartender indebted to small-time hood Bill Murray. Deal/Price: Murray gives Thurman to lonely police photographer Robert De Niro as a week-long gift, then offers her permanently for $75,000. Renegotiation Option: Murray knocks price down to $40,000. Selling Point: By saving her from her fate, De Niro can feel like he's taking a stand. Plus she looks good naked. Caveat Emptor: Thurman may only be using De Niro.

Originally posted Apr 16, 1993 Published in issue #166 Apr 16, 1993 Order article reprints
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