People I Know (2002) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A New York press agent must scramble when his major client becomes embroiled in a huge scandal.

  • Eli Wurman is a decadent drug addicted New Yorker public relation, who is promoting a social event on behalf of Afro-Americans. Along two days of his crazy life, the day of the event and the day before, he makes contacts and favors, 'kissing asses', using drugs etc. Victoria Gray is his widow sister-in-law and passion in the past. Cary Launer is an Oscar winner actor and principal client of Eli. On the day before of the event, Eli finds out secrets that evolve powerful men of America.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Eli (Al Pacino) is a low-rent public relations man in New York City, with only one "big-name" client, aging movie actor Cary Launer (Ryan O'Neal). After a messy one-night stand with a young starlet/party girl (Tea Leoni)--think Lindsay Lohan--Cary asks Eli to babysit the young lady until she is due to fly back to LA the next morning.

    Well, Eli has a bit of a drug problem, and so does the girl, so he doesn't resist too much when she insists on taking him to some kind of floating opium den (sort of like the old floating crap game in Guys & Dolls, but more upscale).

    There's some kind of electronic "toy" she left at the party earlier in the evening that she is determined to find. Once some big name business men discover she is there, they insist that she leave the party and have her escorted to the elevator. As the elevator door closes, she holds up the toy and says "I've got you all now!"

    Eli is too stoned to ask her what she's talking about or why she was kicked out of the party. Anyway, he takes her back to the hotel, but at some point the toy falls out of her bag, and Eli unconsciously sticks it in the pocket of his overcoat.

    He later passes out in her hotel bathroom, but semi-wakes up to see someone attacking her in bed and then passes out again. He leaves the next morning, and assumes she is just sleeping in bed.

    Well, as you probably guessed by now, he later hears on the news that she has been murdered. The police want to question him, and surprise, surprise, his main client, Cary, suddenly wants to dump him, and brings a big sack of cash to Eli's office as a kind of severance package.

    Eli is furious because he just spent the past night babysitting Cary's party girl, plus he promised a lot of people that Cary would appear at a big racial unity event at the Palm restaurant on the east side of Manhattan that evening. Eli is one of the organizers, and it is a pet project of his. Several people, including some wealthy politicos who were at the sex club, make it clear to him that he knows too much about Leoni's death.

    In the meantime, Eli's late brother's widow Victoria (Kim Basinger) is waiting for him at her hotel. Apparently they had a history together before she married his brother, who has recently died. She wants to start things up again with Eli, and he's obviously attracted to her, but he's uncomfortable with the whole "brother's wife" thing.

    Despite this he agrees to go back to Virginia with Vicky, but only a short while later is stabbed by a bypasser on the street. He manages to make it back to his apartment, but there succumbs to blood loss.

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