People I Know (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

People I Know (2003)



Critic Consensus: The derivative plot fails to cohere or draw the viewer in.

Movie Info

A powerful behind-the-scenes man in politics and show business finds himself skidding into a very public scandal in this taut drama. Eli Wurman (Al Pacino) was raised in the deep South, attended Harvard Law School, and has devoted his spare time to progressive political causes since working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. However, Wurman now makes his living as a press agent and PR man, and while he's near the top of his profession, years of overwork, constant smoking and drinking, and ceaseless tension are taking their toll, leaving him on the verge of collapse, with only the prescriptions of his friend Dr. Napier (Robert Klein) keeping him on his feet. One of Wurman's biggest clients is Cary Launer (Ryan O'Neal), a fading film star with political aspirations who, after attending a disastrous Broadway opening, asks Wurman to do him a big favor -- bail Launer's girlfriend, Jilli (Téa Leoni), out of jail and keep an eye on her. Wurman manages to get Jilli out of the stir, but she insists upon being escorted to an exclusive sex and opium den for a night of heavy drinking and drugging, and then reveals to Wurman that she owns a device which she's used to record footage of the most public figures who attend the club, including Elliott Sharansky, a billionaire Jewish civic leader (Richard Schiff). That night, a half out-of-it Eli accompanies Jilli back to her hotel room when an intruder barges in and forces an overdose on her, killing her instantly. The next morning, Wurman has only fuzzy memories of what transpired. He decides to focus on his attempts to set up a political fundraiser, but has a hard time getting the right A-list celebs to appear, just as many of New York's power brokers aren't especially interesting in working with Wurman or Launer. In the midst of this chaos, Victoria (Kim Basinger), who was married to Wurman's late brother, arrives in New York and urges him to leave the city and his career behind while he still can. People I Know was screened in competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (for language, drug use and brief sexual images)
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Jon Robin Baitz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 20, 2004
Miramax Films - Official Site

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Al Pacino
as Eli Wurman
Kim Basinger
as Victoria Gray
Ryan O'Neal
as Cary Launer
Téa Leoni
as Jilli Hopper
Richard Schiff
as Elliot Sharansky
Bill Nunn
as The Reverent Lyle Bl...
Robert Klein
as Dr. Sandy Napier
Eldon Bullock
as Washroom Attendant
Juliet Papa
as Radio Announcer
Ramsey Faragallah
as David Fielding
Frank Wood
as Michael Wormly
Lewis Dodley
as Himself
Angélique Kidjo
as Ms. Thuli Kani
William E. Corcoran
as Lobby Guard #2
William J. Bratton
as Mayor Nick Conlin
Peter Gerety
as Norris Volpe
Daniel Whitner
as Lobby Guard No. 1
Jonathan Walker
as Doorman at Party
Kaity Tong
as Herself
Joy Philbin
as Herself
Joe Duer
as Michael Von Aelstrom
Laurine Towler
as Julia Stone
Polly Adams
as Mara Samuelson
Betsy Aidem
as Talia Greene
Shelley Kirk
as Benefit Guest
Greg Stebner
as Maitre'd
Tina Sloan
as Dr. Napier's Recepti...
Paulina Porizkova
as Dr. Anna Fahri
Sophie Dahl
as Tillie in the Mink
Peter Van Wagner
as Man in Limousine
Pat Kiernan
as Himself
Ajay Mehta
as Cab Driver
Tirlok Malik
as Cab Driver
Ben Shenkman
as Radio Announcer
William Corcoran
as Lobby Guard No. 2
Irina Pantaeva
as Summerwear Showroom ...
David Marshall Grant
as Tom Silverton
Ted Neustadt
as Man in Sharansky's O...
Steve Randazzo
as Jack Pollan
Lisa Emery
as Elsa Nye
Uzi Parnes
as Berger
Shelly Kirk
as Benefit Guest
William Hill
as Paparazzi
Geraldine Bartlett
as Sarah Niles
Steven Randazzo
as Jack Pollan
Mr. G
as Himself
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News & Interviews for People I Know

Critic Reviews for People I Know

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (20)

The movie is weighted down with an excess of plot points that fail to coalesce.

Full Review… | June 11, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Watchable but dramatically scattered.

Full Review… | May 9, 2003
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Dropped into this ocean of bathos, even Al can't tread water -- at that precise moment, he and his performance drown.

Full Review… | May 9, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Trashy and lurid as this movie is, it's certainly not boring, and it keeps its star in hog heaven throughout.

Full Review… | April 27, 2003
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Al Pacino gives a career-crowning performance under Dan Algrant's perceptive direction.

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Top Critic

Miscast and badly thought out, People I Know needed more -- and less -- than it got.

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for People I Know

Though the films themselves stylistically are completely different, the basic plots of "People I Know" and "Carlito's Way" are the same. Here, rather than a gangster, Pacino plays a burnt-out publicist eager to escape his shady way of life but, like Carlito, doomed never to do so. The story doesn't ever really get going but the acting is an absolute treat, with Pacino giving an immaculate performance, truly one of his finest ever.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

Oh Al.

Lesley N

Super Reviewer


An interesting film.

Leo L

Super Reviewer

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