****/**** Image A+ Sound A+ Extras A+
starring Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Thomas Chong
written by Joseph Minion
directed by Martin Scorsese
by Walter Chaw Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) is an asshole. Let's get that out of the way. He's doing a shitty, half-assed job of training the new guy, Lloyd (Bronson Pinchot), in his daytime cubicle hell when Lloyd confesses that his dream isn't mastering the antiquated data-entry system at their non-descript job, but to start a publication where struggling writers might find an outlet for their work. Paul doesn't bother hiding his...not disdain, but complete disinterest in what Lloyd's saying, finding himself distracted by the romance of sheaves of financial documents being moved from one desk to another before standing up and walking away. Paul is detestable. He is The Company rep Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) from the next year's Aliens, the prototypical yuppie who shows up for a late-night booty call with a stranger in Soho wearing dress pants and a button-down shirt and tie. He is the American Psycho. Paul could give a shit about the voice of the oppressed looking for a creative outlet to contribute to the collective pool of art. He's all about numbers. He is the reincarnation of North by Northwest's unctuous, mercurial ad-man Roger O. Thornhill, whose monogram is "ROT." (The "O" stands for "nothing.") After Hours, much like North by Northwest, becomes a nightmare of commodification in which numbers are the source of dehumanization and disassociation. The only reason we really like Paul at all is that we can empathize with his desire to go to bed with 1985 Rosanna Arquette.