The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Tuesday, December 13, 1994             TAG: 9412130045
TYPE: Movie Review 
                                             LENGTH: Medium:   91 lines


BUY A TICKET and choose up sides.

Just when couples had stopped arguing about whether Michael Douglas was a victim or a cad in ``Fatal Attraction,'' along comes the smashingly entertaining ``Disclosure.'' Once again, he doesn't tell his wife all - or much of anything. This time, though, he is most definitely the victim.

Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, ``Disclosure'' is whopping good entertainment that saves itself again and again by not taking itself too seriously. It deals with manipulation within the office - power games, sexual harassment and money-grubbing.

Much of America can identify with at least one of these subjects. Trot it out in a production as slick and playfully acted as this one and you've got a fun, perhaps even meaningful, evening. Even if you do laugh at some of the scenes, you're still likely to get in a discussion with your date on the way home.

Tom Sanders, played by Douglas, is expecting a promotion at his high-tech computer corporation in Seattle. Instead, the glamorous Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore) is brought in. The situation is ticklish: She's now his boss, but back in his free-wheeling single days, she was his lover. When she invites him up for an after-hours meeting in her office, she pours his favorite wine and offers him a shoulder massage. He should have checked with Virginia's Democratic senator.

In no time, she's nibbling at his buttons. His lips are saying ``No, No,'' but his body is saying ``Yes.'' Sanders, though, remembers wife and family and runs for the door. Hey, we need a few surprise twists.

Meredith threatens revenge, and the next day, she delivers. She accuses him of sexual harassment and arranges a transfer to a nowhere place because she feels she could never be comfortable working with him. He stands to lose his family, respect and a few million bucks in stock options.

Sanders' secret weapon, though, is the fact that the company wants to push through a $100 million merger and doesn't want any bad publicity. He files a sexual harassment suit against Johnson, although his chances of winning are slim.

The two stars are fine, if not perfectly cast. Douglas may be a little old for the part and plays it so innocently that you wonder if any man is this naive. Moore, with her throaty voice, is thoroughly effective at suggesting sexual manipulation. They are fun to watch.

It is the supporting cast, guided by director Barry Levinson, that raises the film above melodrama. Roma Maffia is fine as Sanders' witty and no-nonsense lawyer. Donald Sutherland manages to never quite become the villain as the top boss. Caroline Goodall is both likable and sensible as Sanders' wife. The resident two-faced office schemers aren't stereotypes.

Levinson, who won an Oscar for directing ``Rain Man,'' avoids the trappings of sleaze at every step, making his movie superior to similar films such as ``Indecent Proposal'' and ``Basic Instinct,'' which took the low road in the sexual wars.

``Disclosure'' almost falls apart when it veers toward Crichton's obsession with gadgetry. The virtual-reality segment provides lots of colored lights but gets away from the real folks. We might wonder, too, how Douglas could have memorized all those statistics that save him - from a printout delivered just hours before the showdown.

Feminists may well condemn the film as stigmatizing women, but the argument can be made that men have been taking a more relentless beating at the movies in recent years. They're always jerks with one thing on their mind and women are always misused. ``Disclosure'' may be a backlash, but it is more likely just opportunism, a neat reverse on the usual plot. In any case, Meredith may be mean, but the script balances her against several admirable women - the wife, the lawyer and the secretary.

``Disclosure'' is sure to be a box-office bonanza. It's glossy and hokey, but it is also good storytelling. More importantly, within its aims, it's a lot of fun. ILLUSTRATION: BRIAN HAMILL

Warner Bros.

Demi Moore plays the glamorous villain in ``Disclosure.''



Cast: Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland, Caroline

Goodall, Dylan Baker, Roma Maffia, Dennis Miller

Director: Barry Levinson

Screenplay: Paul Attanasio based on Michael Crichton's novel

MPAA rating: R (``almost'' sex scene, lots of language)

Mal's rating: ***1/2

Locations: Greenbrier and Movies 10 in Chesapeake; Commodore in

Portsmouth; Circle 4 and Main Gate in Norfolk; Columbus, Lynnhaven

Mall and Surf-N-Sand in Virginia Beach

by CNB