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YEARDLEY

YEARDLEY Heath C. Michaels' Yeardley sets out from an idiotic frat house conceit — that even if you are a moderately attractive male with no discernable attractive qualities, women will continually throw themselves at you because that's how women work — and devolves into something much, much stupider. Played by a mostly expressionless Jesse Bernstein, the titular Jeff Yeardley is a computer programmer who, at the movie's outset, is forced out of his high-paying job and sexless marriage by a jilted office fling who has accused him of sexual assault. While enduring meetings with a string of cartoonishly insufferable social workers, disastrous visitation days with a son who's baldly present only as a narrative device and a soon-to-be-ex-wife who ends every phone call by hanging up on him, Jeff finds new work as a skip tracer ... and falls victim to another set of deviously horny women who raise the stakes well beyond the professional. All of Yeardley's themes — the tension between marriage and sexual fulfillment, fatherly responsibility, role reversal in sexual aggression — could make for a worthwhile movie in the hands of a Cassavetes or a May, but Michaels doesn't have much interest in plumbing what makes these people do what they do. Indeed, the filmmaker can't even stay out of his own way when he does stumble on a good idea: His chief virtue, an ability to make any domestic space (particularly ones with staircases or leather couches) look stiflingly claustrophobic, runs in direct opposition to Yeardley's family-or-nothing final scene. (Phil Coldiron) (Sunset 5)