The Whole Truth (2009) Poster

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bad screwball comedy - was that the twist?
spimpernel3 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Saw this at its world premiere at SIFF, where half the audience was cast/crew members. Between that, the fact that it was filmed in Seattle (I even unknowingly saw a scene being filmed), and that I'm an Elisabeth Röhm fan from Law & Order, I think is keeping me from panning this movie to the level it deserves, but I'll try.

This movie is certainly entertaining, which, after labeling itself a screwball comedy, should be a given. The problem starts early on, when Elisabeth Röhm's character Angela transforms into a loony screwball character after playing the first several scenes fairly straight. You keep waiting for her to "drop the act" and play it straight again, especially since Angela went to acting school, but she never does and her wacky behavior is never explained. Are we really supposed to believe that this alpha woman who on a professional basis transforms criminals into likable witnesses at trial would herself completely lose her composure on the stand? The supporting characters were all great, my favorite being Pisay Pao as Angela's housekeeper-in-disguise. Sean Patrick Flanery was Angela's wanna-be leading man Gary, written as the unoriginal nice guy friend who's been making puppy dog eyes at his friend since forever, hoping she comes around to seeing him as the man she wanted all along but didn't know it. When they finally get together at the end, the scene feels forced and rushed, resulting in classic bad acting. This is the scene that for me sunk the whole movie far lower than it could have been.

In the end we're supposed to believe Angela has "seen the light" about how her job undermines justice, but the movie fails to convince, in part because Angela is still not being played straight, but also because the movie here fails to follow the first rule of storytelling, "show, don't tell".

Also, several elements of back-story are alluded to but never developed further. Maybe they would have given this movie some much-needed depth.
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Chris Mills5 June 2009
How this movie made it into the Seattle International Film Festival I'll never understand. It's not that I didn't like the subject matter or disagreed with the point of view, it's more like... well, it had no point of view. It had no point! I got the feeling that the cast and crew of The Whole Truth were involved in some kind of inside joke that the audience wasn't privy to. I felt sorry for Elisabeth Rohm because she is such a good actor, but the role and how she was instructed to play it was totally ludicrous. It was beneath her and she should have never accepted the part. I'm sorry to say this but the director/writer Colleen Patrick should be embarrassed. Check out the audience comments on the SIFF web site for more info.
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The Awful Truth
talksnakey4 June 2009
There are some movies that start badly, but make me hope for something worth staying for. Sometimes I am rewarded, sometimes I end up just satisfied enough and sometimes I just laugh at the train wreck that is unfolding before me...

...and sometimes, I get to the 30 minute mark and realize that the movie was always dead on arrival, and that there really isn't even a shred of hope.

Welcome to "The Whole Truth".

The "You're lucky I'm not Korean" line (spoken to a dog...oh, I get it!) was one of many painful and embarrassingly bad attempts at humor. I mean without exaggeration that the writing is truly cringe-worthy. Ever watch amateur comedians flop on stage and feel embarrassed for them?'s that bad.

I heard a few quiet (and possibly just nervous/embarrassed) giggles in the first half hour. For a movie that promised "rapid-fire" laughs, there was a painful amount of silence in the theatre.

Additionally, the soundtrack was right out of a sitcom pilot that never got picked up for a first season, the acting was forced and brutally unfunny, and the general feel of the movie was that of a decent concept given terribly amateur treatment.

Oddly, I read a comment about a test screening that went really well. The audience at the (sold out!) Seattle Int'l Film Festival screening would probably beg to differ, and the reviews on the SIFF site are very telling.

I would have been very curious to see the Q&A session after the movie. I can't help but wonder if anything of interest was said. Did the filmmakers receive any honest feedback? I've heard that Sundance audiences have actually booed and hissed at selected screenings...I've never seen that happen here.

Then again, I had to leave at the 30 minute mark. I couldn't take it anymore.
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Rare original comedy with superb cast
sheridanwhiteside-122 June 2009
THE WHOLE TRUTH is a unique comedy. The premise of an acting teacher who coaches defendants to transform themselves into the appearance of innocence is completely original. Actress Elisabeth Rohm (in a departure from dramatic roles like LAW AND ORDER) portrays a self-deluded acting coach with touches of Carole Lombard, Lucille Ball, and the young Diane Keaton. In a surprising turn Eric Roberts plays a foreign mobster who is both scary and hilarious. For those familiar with Roberts playing dark dramatic characters, this role will be a revelation. Sean Patrick Flanery (BOONDOCK SAINTS) is a once successful television actor who has hit a rough patch. The superb supporting cast includes comic actors Rick Overton as a henchman, John Fugelsang as a prosecuting attorney, and Jim Holmes as an ethically challenged defense attorney. Beneath the comedy is a commentary on how easily justice can be "gamed" by the unscrupulous.

I'm truly puzzled by some of the negative responses from some at the Seattle Film Festival. The audience I saw it with (there were two screenings) was entertained. THE WHOLE TRUTH is that rare PG comedy for adult sensibilities.
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beyond awful
blanche-23 November 2017
Elisabeth Rohm stars in "The Whole Truth" from 2009, also starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Eric Roberts, and Tin Tin, a dog who is the best actor in the film.

The premise is a funny one: an acting coach, Angela Masters, prepares defendants for court, making them look and sound amazing so that they are found not guilty. One of her clients is a Russian mobster, played by Eric Roberts.

The only problem with this movie is its horrific direction. It is so over the top that it is embarrassing. Elisabeth Rohm, a good actress, a beautiful woman, screams and shouts her way through her role. Eric Roberts hams it up but good. If the movie had been toned down a little, it would have been so much better.

Only Sean Patrick Flannery and Tin Tin the dog emerge with their dignity intact. Pisay Pao, who plays Angela's maid, is good, but I think I missed something. From what I can gather, she pretends to be her own, elderly aunt, and when Angela is out of the house, she is her young self, seeing clients in an office. It took me the whole movie to figure out her profession. I think it was financial planning.

Not recommended unless your idea of comedy is overdone performances.
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The Whole Truth takes a funny look at the legal system
rgblakey18 February 2013
Comedies are a dime a dozen nowadays so they are becoming harder and harder to top. There are times when a filmmaker attempts to try to take on a subject with comedy to make a statement about which is a tricky thing to make work. The latest film The Whole Truth seems to be doing this with the legal system sporting a decent cast including Elisabeth Rohm, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Eric Roberts, but does it accomplish in delivering its message and the comedy?

The Whole Truth follows an acting coach whose client list are accused criminals in the attempt to make them presentable for court. When she over hears one of her clients she helped free is planning a crime and has targeted her for murder, she is forced to use her own teachings to change herself and in doing so finds out who she really is. There are some pretty funny moments in this film, mostly thanks to Eric Roberts, but sadly it mostly gets lost in itself. Without the explanation of where the filmmaker is trying to go and tell the audience this film is really all over the place and convoluted. Once you understand the message the movie makes a bit more sense, but still has some issues flowing smoothly. At first it makes complete sense and then it starts to jump around a bit and loses you. The performances are all decent, with Roberts being the most stand out of the bunch. His over the top performance is so ridiculous that it is way more entertaining than it deserves to be. The rest of the cast deliver what they can, but it's hard to tell if they want it to be an over the top comedy or it just happens to play out that way.

This isn't a horrible movie, but at the same time it struggles trying to come together. As mentioned the message is key to understand what they are trying to tell the audience which is a social commentary on the legal system to really appreciate any aspect of this film.
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Great entertainment!
Gina Lockhart25 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I had the opportunity to see The Whole Truth this evening and wanted to take a moment and praise it.

It's been a long time since I've been able to sit through a "comedy" while laughing and enjoying the whole thing - even through the credits. This was not a difficult story, this was what I call "mind candy." I was able to stay interested to find out what was going to be the ending result. The Whole Truth is a movie you can put in your DVD player and forget about everything else. It did it's job - Entertainment. I could easily list off ten or so "top" comedies that fail to live up to The Whole Truth.

It was funny and yet interesting to watch Angela become a nervous wreck after being so strong for some time in her life. At the same time, we then watch her best friend Gary become the strong one; however, it is clear that she was not strong from the beginning due to the flashback of her before success. We are also shown that detective even tells Angela that she could have used her own skills to not look like a nut on the stand. So I'm not sure why one of the reviewers missed these two important moments.

Way to go on Elizabeth for doing a different kind of role! She's becoming one of my top actresses - fast! Eric Roberts was fantastic to see like this and both had me laughing hard with his first visit to her office. I had to back it up three times. All the other actors were great as well.

The writing - this was done with every day talk that made it all the more funny. This had topics or phrases that we all say one time or another that we rarely see on film which made it easier to laugh with. This movie breaks the mold - no longer is Seattle artsy! Thanks to Writer/Director Collen Patrick, Seattle now has a really good movie that should be competing for top movie of the week in the theaters.

This is a movie that should be seen in the theater.
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