This is an interesting film about five friends from the rough side of Philadelphia. Together, they've made extra money running house parties, sports booking, and other borderline activities over the years. As they are getting older, they begin to worry about their futures.
Then a chance encounter with two young, drug-addicted prostitutes (played by Bijou Phillips and Alexandra Breckenridge) inspires a new business venture: why not manage the prostitution, provide the drugs for the whores, and rake off the profits for themselves? Four of the friends (played by Ben Crowley, Danny Masterson, Daniel London, and Thomas Ian Nicholson) eventually commit to the plan.
But where to get the drugs? The would-be pimps stumble into a relationship with Nate (Ving Rhames), a friendly veteran drug dealer, who teaches them about the business of crime.
The four friends each find a unique niche in the operation, and after only a few months, the escorts-and-drugs business is making serious money. Will success change them? Will the mob want a larger cut? Can they avoid jail? Is prostitution just a victimless crime?
What makes this movie stand out is the realistic portrayal of the lower-class Philly friends, none of whom are standard Hollywood stereotypes. Ving Rhames is charming and terrifying as the mobster.
The film makes some attempts to show the sordid side of prostitution and drug addiction, but the whores come off a bit too healthy and happy. And how does someone who has been on the street since age 13 sound like she has a marketing degree?
Can you wargame it? The action scenes are too one-sided, but the ending could inspire a Pulpish series of shoot-outs if you balanced the sides.
Given the subject matter and level of profanity, not suitable for younger viewers.
Yes, this is a morality film. You can guess how it ends, but some of the twists may surprise you. You'll keep thinking about the movie when it's over. Recommended.