For its first half-hour, Quid Pro Quo flirts with the kind of sexual perversity that fueled Crash, David Cronenbergs lurid 1996 film about a subculture of auto-erotics. But the opening scenes prove little more than a tease, for there is nothing fetishisticmuch less metaphoricalabout the case of Isaac Knott (Nick Stahl), a public-radio reporter who was eight years old when a car crash killed his parents and left him a paraplegic. An anonymous tip leads Isaac to a clandestine fraternity of wannabe amputeesphysically intact individuals who yearn to be disabled. His guide into this strange universe is Fiona (Vera Farmiga), a mysterious beautyand soon his loverwho craves not dismemberment, but physical paralysis. Farmiga is captivating, Stahl less soalthough a bigger problem is writer/director Carlos Brookss script, which sets up one story, then shifts gears into something more personal and psychologically specific. Thats normally a plus, deepening the viewers sense of involvement, but the transition here is bumpy and, ultimately, unconvincing.
July 4-10, 2008