After catching Segel trashing their home, Plemons and Collins are quickly threatened into submission by him as Plemons tries to negotiate their safety. It’s clear that he and Collins are extremely wealthy, as they have at least $5,000 and a Rolex watch lying around the house.
At first that’s enough for Segel, but after his first attempt to leave is caught on security camera and he in turn catches the couple as they flee the property, he returns to demand more. – half a million dollars, in fact, which Plemons dutifully asks his assistant via Skype to have it delivered to the house (he lies that it’s for another “Debbie”, implying a woman that Plemons has apparently need to pay to get out of his life).
The problem is that it will take 24 hours for the money to be collected and delivered, which means Segel, Collins and an increasingly manic Plemons have to spend an entire day together in the house. Spot what the viewer expects to be the obligatory character moments, confessions, and revelations that always seem to happen in these kinds of pressure cooker circumstances.
And indeed, that’s what we get – sort of. Segel’s motivation is never revealed, though it is strongly suggested that he is collateral damage from the invention that made Plemons his billions: an algorithm that helps companies streamline operations and regain control. profitability by laying off countless numbers of employees, a process that Plemons proudly champions.
While Segel, Plemons and Collins all work hard here – sometimes a bit too hard in Plemons’ case, after his more nuanced work in The power of the dog – characters fall into the standard slots corresponding to their generic names: Segel is the enigmatic, possibly dangerous outsider who sets things in motion, Plemons is a ruthless CEO who hates “freeloaders” and wants “whatever m ‘belongs’, while Collins is seemingly the perfect wife who harbors hidden regrets and resentments.
Bargain might have been more interesting had the characters been written against type, Segel perhaps discovering that Plemons isn’t the hard-hearted, smug, possessive bastard he seems to be (a wish he actually expresses more late in the movie). It would at least create a slightly fresher storyline and more moral complexity than what McDowell and company are offering here.