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'Zipper' hits a snag tracking randy politician

Another cautionary yarn about a political hopeful whose adulterous behavior catches up with him, Mora Stephens' "Zipper" hits a snag from the get-go.

Patrick Wilson plays Sam Ellis, a hotshot federal prosecutor with an eye on the attorney general seat, whose insatiable addiction to a high-end escort service comes back to bite him in his aspirations.

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This isn't exactly uncharted terrain. Instead of taking the audience in unfamiliar directions, filmmaker Mora Stephens (who wrote the script with Joel Viertel) is in such a heated rush to get to all the salacious bits, the story doesn't build crucial dramatic tension.

More problematic: The dependable Wilson, an actor whose screen charisma allows him to get away with playing slightly darker characters, has been given insufficient time to earn viewer sympathy, resulting in a character that comes across primarily as a smug, hypocritical jerk.

Also squandered here are Lena Headey as Wilson's wronged wife and Richard Dreyfuss channeling Karl Rove, while the intrusive, sinister-sounding score would have been a better fit for a cheesy horror flick.

"The Ashley Madison Story" starring Elvira, perhaps?

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"Zipper."

MPAA rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, brief drug use.

Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes.

Playing: Sundance Cinemas, Los Angeles; Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena.

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