This week, I saw the movie “Middle Men” starring Luke Wilson and Giovanni Ribisi. I won’t spoil the ending, but income tax considerations — and a collective desire to outwit the “tax man” — play a huge role in the fate of one of the characters (and not in the Al Capone-ish way one might expect). Here’s the synopsis of the movie:
In 1995, everyone had a VCR, music was sold in record stores, and the world-wide-web was a new found discovery. Businessman Jack Harris (Luke Wilson) had the perfect life – a beautiful family and a successful career fixing problem companies. Then he met Wayne Beering (Giovanni Ribisi) and Buck Dolby (Gabriel Macht), two genius but troubled men, who had invented the way adult entertainment is sold over the internet. When Jack agrees to help steer their business, he soon finds himself caught between a 23 year-old porn star and the FBI all the while becoming one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs of his time. Witness a story so outrageous, you won’t believe it’s true.
From the website here.
There’s lots more to say about the film, including its multiple references to the role that “mainstream” hotels play in the distribution and consumption of pornography. There’s even a subplot involving the role of internet pornography in tracking terrorist suspects. But for now, suffice to say that income taxes are outcome determinative.