Diana (Demi Moore) and David (Woody Harrelson) are childhood sweethearts who married when she was just 19. She sells real estate and he’s an architect with a firm, dreaming of one day making a name for himself.
Diana discovers a cheap piece of ocean-front property for sale and convinces David this could be their chance to build his dream house and gain recognition as an architect. They pour everything they have into the project and take out a large loan from the bank.
Then the recession hits. David is laid off and Diana goes for months without selling a house. They fall behind in their payments and the bank calls in their loan.
Desperate to save his house, David borrows $5,000 from his father and drives to Las Vegas with Diana to try and win the $50,000 they need. Their first night at the casino they make a killing, but when they return for their second night, they lose everything.
On their way out, they pass by the high roller table where billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford) is losing at blackjack. Fascinated by Diana, Gage asks her to sit with him for good luck. Delighted that she helps him win $1 million, he convinces the two to stay on at the hotel as his guests.
That night, Gage makes them an offer of $1 million in exchange for a one-night stand with Diana, which they indignantly refuse. But after a sleepless night of considering the offer, they decide the money would solve all their problems, so they call their lawyers to cement the deal.
Contrary to their expectations, the money doesn’t mark the end of their problems. In fact, it’s just the beginning.
The interesting “would you do it?” premise of Adrian Lyne’s drama goes slightly awry as the moral issues are dumped in favour of all three main characters simply showing how selfish they are and – as a result – this is probably best viewed as a commentary on the excesses and emptiness of the early 1990s.
But, with these leads, who are we to quibble? Just tune in to watch Redford and Moore doing what they do best, with Harrelson giving them a run for their money.
Richard B. Livingston