"The Loft"

“The Loft,” now playing in area theaters, stars (from left) Karl Urban, Eric Stonestreet and Wentworth Miller.

Men can be so skeazy.

Some of them just drip slime. It oozes out their pores when the evil pits of their souls boil over.

OK, some women can be just as bad. However, their disgustingness isn’t at the center of “The Loft.”

I’d never even heard of the film before Tuesday, but despite its dismal reviews, I bought my ticket anyway.

As I told Weekend Editor Steve Wildsmith, there’s a guilty pleasure in watching bad movies that are meant to be bad, a la anything on the SyFy channel. In fact, I’ll admit to seeing John Schneider’s “Snow Beast” not once, but twice.

Problem No. 1: I don’t think “The Loft” is meant to be bad, although after seeing this incredibly ridiculous movie, I have to wonder.

Karl Urban (“Star Trek”) leads the merry band of miserable human beings. He’s an architect whose new building has a loft set aside for his own personal use, and Vincent — has that name ever been this diabolical? — is willing to share with four of his best buddies.

Only five keys are made, and the five men can use the loft as their own personal sexual playground, provided they text a bro to let the others know it’s in use. As Vincent puts it, it’s economically sound and avoids messy credit card receipts their wives might find.

I personally love it when tawdry trysts can be economically sound, as well as fun. After all, who doesn’t? “Tawdry doesn’t have to bankrupt you, bro!”

Three of Vincent’s buddies jump at the chance to join in the fun. First, there’s Philip (Matthias Schoenaerts), who receives his key as a wedding gift. At his own wedding. Classy, eh?

Then there’s Luke (Wentworth Miller). Luke is an odd one and pretty creepy. And yet, he’s still more likable than Marty (Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family” fame). Marty isn’t the most attractive of the quintet, but he’s definitely the most obnoxious and disgusting.

Finally, we have Dr. Chris Vanowen, a psychiatrist who seems the most good-natured of the bunch. Chris (James Marsden) is shackled to a beautiful — but cold — wife. Of course he is, right? You haven’t seen that character type at least A MILLION times before now, right? It’s so fresh and so clean clean.

In fact, all of the men are married, and many of the couples are the very picture of happiness.

The loft proves to be a perfect getaway, though, until one less-than-perfect day when the body of a woman is found bleeding and naked in bed.

But wait, there are only five keys, so the killer must be one of the band of brothers! Oh no!

And, thus, the only entertaining part of the movie unfolds. For reference, I use “entertaining” as loosely as possible.

The story is told in a series of flashbacks. In the main storyline told in the present, the men are being questioned by police detectives on their whereabouts and who, er, what they’ve been doing. The audience also watches the friends unravel in the loft after the discovery of the body. AND, we also get to see various flashbacks to when the loft arrangement came to be, in addition to some female “recruiting” scenes.

It’s the cinematic version of a Russian nesting doll. Except way less awesome.

Originally filmed in 2011, the film sat in studio limbo for years before finally being released Jan. 30. Judging from reviews and lackluster ticket sales — I was the only one in my viewing just five days after release — I’m fairly certain “The Loft” should have gone the direct-to-video route.

The film is a remake by director Erik Van Looy of his 2008 Belgian film, “Loft,” which interestingly enough starred Schoenaerts who reprised his role for the American remake.

Schoenaerts’ character is part of one of the storylines that doesn’t work. Philip and Chris are actually half-brothers, but while Chris had a loving father, Philip and his sister Zoey weren’t so lucky and bounced around the system. It’s a plot point that comes up at random points, I suppose in an effort to humanize the characters.

But no one is quite as humanized as Chris. Not only is he a doctor with a big, umm, heart, he truly loves the woman he brings to the loft. She’s warm, inviting and all those things his horrible wife isn’t. Of course, there’s something just not right about his new “love.”

I heart James Marsden. I truly do. His inclusion, along with that of Urban, probably prompted me to see this film just as much as any other reason. And Marsden does a really awesome job in the role.

Urban is a little bit rougher and his natural New Zealand accent slips in more than once. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a lovely accent, but there’s a time and place for everything.

Kinda like this “thriller.” It has “potential.”

For a fan of a whodunit, there’s definitely intrigue in trying to figure out which one of these men is not only a cheating A-hole but a murderer as well. However, it’s not really firing on all cylinders. It’s not the sharpest knife in the movie drawer. It’s not the smartest bear, er, movie in the woods either.

“The Loft” tries to be sexy and it tries to be thrilling. Unfortunately, its ridiculousness and the in-your-face sleaze factor doesn’t leave the viewer feeling anything. Except like you need a shower. And a lobotomy.

Amanda Greever is the assistant managing editor and film critic for The Daily Times. Contact her at 981-1161 or at amandag@thedailytimes.com.

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