Leads are well-matched, but material is off-putting and mostly intolerable...
A self-described 'funny magician' and his wife, a retired dancer, indulge in role-playing games to keep their minds off their recent misfortune in losing their daughter. Freely-adapted from Theo van Gogh's 1996 Dutch-language film of the same name, this talky effort from director/co-writer/lead actor Stanley Tucci is a smoothly-paced yet internally-mercurial drama which is alternately thoughtful and boring. Tucci and Patricia Clarkson (not surprisingly) match up well together on-screen--but of all their many character incarnations here, I never felt I was seeing living, breathing human beings. The film is a high-wire act, all show and circumstance. Tucci's opening sequence, performing his joshing act in an intimate-yet-ornate nightclub, is a highlight; yet the modern-day mood is nearly destroyed by a child's narration, speaking pretentiously as if she were just retrieved from a 1950s film noir. *1/2 from ****
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