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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not that Trust the Man is a bad movie. It's not without some
merit. But it's a film that could have been better had some time been
taken with the script and with the direction. Spain's great filmmaker,
Almodovar, complained this week that American movies have year by year
become worse and worse because of their scripts. This film serves as a
great example of what Almodovar is referring to.
The problem is that we're no longer writing characters in scripts, we're writing what I call "Oddities" - characters with a one-dimensional problem that makes them kooky but leaves them being just a type. It's more of a freak-show approach to storytelling (step right up and see the sex addict, step right up and see the woman who desperately wants to get married and have babies, etc). Here we have four great actors who are all playing oddities. Duchovny is the sex addict whose addiction is tempered by the fact he's a Mr. Mom and a great one too. His wife, played by Julianne Moore, isn't all that interested in sex for some reason which is not really made clear in the film. She's definitely attracted to him and the two seem to have a rather physically intense romantic relationship. But hey Screen writing 101 says conflict is necessary, so if the husband is a sex addict let's make his wife frigid for no apparent reason.
Likewise with the Gyllenhaal and Crudup characters. He's obsessed with being single, so guess what, let's make her obsessed with being married. As you can see this is a rather unclever film.
But there are funny moments. There are some great lines spread throughout the film. But it's long boring and you'll cringe as everyone seems to have a scene in which they break down and cry their eyes out in an almost childish spat.
This is the other main dysfunction of the film. Instead of making things believably come from the characters the film just pushes us this way and that way making things happen because it might be funny or it helps tie up loose ends, but it doesn't work with the stark realism of the New York setting. For instance, Duchovny's character starts to have an affair even though it's so clear that he's in love with his wife. We never for once think he is that sexually starved that he'd risk infidelity. Likewise we never for once believe that Julianne Moore's character is that disinterested in sex. She even takes out her friend after a breakup for some hot sex with an "attentive man." She goes as far as to admit having a threesome back in college. Does this sound like a woman who has no sexual interest whatsoever? And there's some question of whether she was having an affair too, though it seems like something was left on the editing room floor that would have explained that a little further.
Oh and for some reason Billy Crudup starts following around his therapist. Once again for no reason.
And the ending is just bad. It doesn't seem believable to begin with and comes off like sweetened sacchrine. Which is a shame because these two couples actually have chemistry.
It just takes too much time and sags around the midpoint of the 2nd act.
Plus for some reason there's a scene with Duchovny and Crudup talking where Duchovny ends the scene by suddenly announcing "I have to go" and then leaving. It's a rather poorly directed moment that seriously bothered me. Why does a character have to announce that they're leaving the scene? Just have them walk away. I think the audience can figure that out. Look for the moment, it's really odd.
I went to a preview screening of the film and I wish I could have talked to the director afterwards because with about 25 minutes of trimming they could have had a much tighter, old-style Woody Allen sort of film.
Sadly Almodovar is right. American scripts are at their lowest. Look at Superman Returns, Miami Vice, and now even this independent work. At least Fox Searchlight is also releasing Little Miss Sunshine at the moment. That movie is phenomenal and might be one of the few gems that refutes Almodovar's theory. But there's far too much to prove it.
I ask film-lovers out there. Why are we still accepting adequate films today? Why don't we hope for something more. Why don't we raise the level and say give us good films.
Adequate just ain't good enough.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Barely a genuine moment in the movie. He started out setting the stage for a thoughtful drama/comedy and then littered it with completely fake characters and situations. The zen musician/friend/minister? The lesbian book publisher who gets water spit in her face and sticks around for a friendly chat? The European boyfriend with the fake European accent and stereotypical lisp? Getting chased by a security guard around Lincoln Center? Showing up in a cab in the middle of your brother's/best friend's wedding, and not having anyone notice? Ludicrous, disingenuous, pretentious nonsense. So many story lines started but not completed. The car that he has an emotional attachment to. The children's book the girl wants to publish. The ex-girlfriend who he bumps into a couple of times, who makes a pass at him, and then you never see again. The sex addicts support group? Julianne Moore's acting colleague who, at the end, we're apparently led to believe perhaps she was having an affair with, but that was never developed or explained. Maggie Gyllenhall suddenly, inexplicably pining for a baby? It was just one obnoxious scene after another. A waste of good actors.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film at the Toronto film festival, I wasn't too sure what to
expect but was drawn in by a synopsis that included the word
'hilarious' (I was trying to balance out the effect of some darker
movies I saw that day) and thought the cast looked interesting.
The movie was well written, quirky and a lot of fun. The biggest surprise of the movie for me was that David Duchovny not only turned in a good performance but managed to be quite humorous along the way. (Spoiler) His visit to a self help group after feeling guilt from a brief affair was particularly memorable (while almost straying into "dear red shoes..." territory).
Billy Crudup's energetic relationship phobic performance is a nice counterpoint to David Duchovny's measured approach and the pair of them play off each other nicely. Julianne Moore and Maggie Gyllenhaal also turn in great performances in their respective long suffering wife / partner roles.
I really enjoyed the movie and had a few belly laughs along the way.
I missed this one at last year's Toronto International Film Fesival,
but have just seen a preview prior, presumably to its Toronto release.
For me live-in lovers Billy Crudup and Maggie Gyllenhall delivered sparkling performances far more sympatici than the other couple -- the married pair of Julianne Moore and David Duchovny who also did their job well, but it's the antics of the former two that keep this film alive and moving.
Without wising a spoiler on you, I was in a genuine state of suspense over whether or not this movie would have a feel good ending.
The behaviour of these four characters is not really rooted in reality -- who expects this of a comedy? -- but their quirks and good qualities are sufficiently close to it speak for the times.
There were several good laughs and a couple of good running jokes which didn't pall on me.
I found Trust the Man a likable effort which should prove popular in spite of what I know will be some critics' objections for occasional in-your-face crudities
This film seems to seek only to be exactly what it seems to be on first
viewing, and manages that superbly. And all this is is just one more
'relationship' movie, showing the problems faced in modern life by
'trendy' couples in New York.
The film portrays two couples living in New York, a brother and sister and their respective partners, who have the typical problems with each other. One couple has Julianne Moore and David Duchovny in a marriage gone stale (unimaginatively shown through the medium of having Moore's character repetitively refuse her husband sex), and the other has Maggie Gyllenhaal desperate to further both her career and relationship with a boyfriend who is terrified to commit, apparently because of a fear of dying.
Not exactly original is it. Throughout the movies I just found it to be simply leaning on the stable stereotypes and ideas of every other film of this genre before it, but with little or no effort to flesh out the characters to an interesting level, something vital in a film of this kind. None of the characters in this piece are interesting, and you just cannot bring yourself to care about them. I really expected more from Duchovny and Moore, who we know can do this sort of thing well if they try, and the only one here who vaguely manages to come out of this well is Gyllenhaal, who somehow manages to work through the material and give Elaine a level of naivety and a hope to improve on her lot to make us root for her.
This is where I felt the movie, like many others like it, missed the point; these characters have problems, they're not happy and their relationships are falling apart but they don't seem to want to bother doing anything about it. In fact 'helping yourself' is actively mocked. Tom and Rebecca go to marriage counselling once a year as a joke to wind up their guidance councillor. When Tom joins a sex addicts group (apparently if you're wife refuses to have sex with you ever, and tells you this to your face, if you still want sex yourself it means you're a sex addict. No one wants sex once you have children! What a freak!) we just get shown an amusing group of weirdos with stupid and amusing fetishes involving power tools.
What this shows to me is just one more love story of how New York (once again shown as a seeming example of the epitome of American society) drains people and makes them miserable and alone. How everyone is miserable, but trying to improve your lot is pointless and laughable, so just get over it and you'll get the inevitable happy ending where both couples get what they wanted from the start, not because they've actually changed or started liking each other, but because we've got the end of the film and need to wrap it up for that cathartic happy ending that the audience wants. The moral: don't bother trying to change your life if it's not working, it'll all work out in the end if you pretend your happy.
The only thing this movie has going for it is the acting talent. There is no story, no arc, and the characters take an incredibly shallow view on relationships. Just like the other 2 B. Freundlich movies, it is all talk and no substance. Boring and has nothing to say. Tries way too hard to be funny, and all the forced jokes just fall flat. Since IMDb is forcing me to write 10 full lines, I will continue by saying that Julianne Moore is luminous as always, David Duchovny is very likable, Billy Crudup is over-the-top and annoying (scenery chewing much?) and Maggie Gyllenhaal is wonderful. She is the best thing in the movie and rises above the weak material.
this is one of the funniest movies i have seen in a while. great for guys (women, also) who are looking for a movie that's intelligent, too. i don't know what movie that first reviewer was watching, but i thought the cameos were hilarious, and that all the actors were totally believable. the soundtrack is great as well and has some very cool artists i hadn't heard of before. i think that the reason the movie is so good is because the writing is so good and tuned in. director bart freundlich definitely understands the underbelly of relationships. i imagine he goes through a lot of it himself. the relationships between the two main couples is very believable. i loved this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A waste of good actors...and good money! Nothing made any sense. There was no reason to care about these characters. Judging only by the ending, it seems that the whole point was that the men in the film were irresponsible, crass cads who finally learn the importance of love and family. Trite and boring. The story lines leading up to this predictable ending were beyond unrealistic, and yes, as someone mentioned above, there were multiple story lines that were not wrapped up. Elaine would never have been interested in that ridiculously fake French accent guy, and why on earth would she not have had a stronger reaction to her potential publisher kissing her on the street?? What did either couple do, learn, discover, realize or discuss that would have brought them to a reconciliation?? Shouldn't THAT have been the meat of the story?? The final scene in the theater was sheer nonsense! What an insult to the viewer! Just another disappointing film whose best (and only good) lines are in the trailer. A few saving graces for this film: David Duchovney was very good, the nod to 'The Graduate' at the end was cute, Gary Shandling was funny, and, unfortunately, that's about it!
I rented this movie because of the great cast. I finished it amazed that any established actor would have accepted a role in this thing based on the script, which was lame, unoriginal, and mildly offensive in its attempts at humor. Rarely has a battle of the sexes been so predictable. The story was filled with stereotypes and stereotypical behavior. The men came off as overgrown children. In any real world, their female counterparts wouldn't have put up with them for two weeks, much less years. It was painful to watch a game cast try to breath some humanity and originality into these characters. Moments intended as funny or telling merely smelled bad. Woody Allen covered the same ground years ago in a much better way. Try Hannah And Her Sisters. This particular would-be Woody update added nothing to the genre.
this is a realistically filmed relevant love story. i love the actors and actresses looking like and behaving like real people. the director has used minimal make-up and realistic lighting to have these actors appear just as they would in real life. all adults should be able to find some version of themselves and there lives in the 4 leads. and the interactions between the actors is absolutely spot-on. crudup in particular is someone you probably know in this film, and as usual is almost unrecognizable as anyone other than the role he is playing, see 'stage beauty' if you are not convinced. not a block-buster, not an Oscar winner, but a solid piece of film that can be enjoyed by everyone.
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