After tackling abortion (If These Walls Could Talk) and AIDS (In the Gloaming), HBO takes on another topic the networks are afraid to touch: breasts. Billed as ”basically a true story, slightly augmented,” Breast Men follows the rise and fall of two fictionalized implant inventors (David Schwimmer and Chris Cooper) from the ’60s to the present. In the process, the telepic becomes the Boogie Nights of the fake-boob industry.
Just as Boogie concerns a naif (Mark Wahlberg) who becomes a porno star by showing off his huge member in the ’70s, then blows it all in a cocaine-fueled meltdown in the ’80s, Breast Men concerns a naif (Schwimmer) who becomes a plastic-surgery star by building huge mammary glands in the ’70s, then blows it all in a cocaine-fueled meltdown in the ’80s. Both films use garish period fashions and giddy disco music for comic effect.
Breast Men also benefits from a pair of outstanding lead performances. Cooper excels as the crotchety mentor who watches his student eclipse him. Anyone who knows the actor only as the laid-back lawman from John Sayles’ Lone Star will be pleasantly startled by his edgy, energetic work here.
Yet it’s Schwimmer who’s the biggest surprise. At first, his character seems like another geeky variation on Friends‘ Ross. But Schwimmer soon reveals the raging egomaniac inside this shy dork. He takes real risks with this role; you won’t see Ross snorting coke off a stripper’s chest anytime soon.
Breast Men does suffer from one drawback: As advertised, it’s all about the guys. There isn’t a fully fleshed-out female figure in sight. Only Emily Procter registers as Schwimmer’s nurse/wife, but even her character remains, um, underdeveloped. Still, this is certain to be Howard Stern’s favorite cable movie ever. B+