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An Insult to a Great Classic
Buddy-512 November 2002
Mystery films come and go; a precious few stand the test of time. "Charade,' for my money the greatest whodunit ever made, is a masterpiece of tone, miraculously blending the disparate elements of suspense, humor and romance more successfully than any film I've ever seen. Enhanced by the dashing beauty and charisma of its two stars, Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, the sophisticated wit of its ingenious script, the shimmering beauty of its on-location photography, and, of course, the classic strains of its Henry Mancini score, "Charade" is a movie that one can enjoy no matter how many times one has seen it.

I wonder how many people will be saying the same thing about `The Truth About Charlie' - Jonathan Demme's utterly pointless remake of this great film - four decades from now (the original title, `Charade,' is actually more appropriate because the story deals with lies, deception and falsehoods in general and not just in relation to that particular character). I have absolutely no idea how anyone unfamiliar with the original work will respond to this film. I can just say that, for diehard devotees of the 1963 Stanley Donen classic, `The Truth About Charlie' is a travesty on every level imaginable. (And, alas, that great Henry Mancini score is nowhere to be found on this version's soundtrack, the first of many strikes against this modern rehash).

Although this new version shares the basic plot premise of the original, it has completely eliminated most of the elements that made `Charade' such a world-class, timeless charmer. First of all, in what universe could Mark Wahlberg and Thandia Newton possibly be considered replacements for Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, two of the greatest screen legends of all time? Yes, Ms. Newton has a certain attractiveness and appeal at times, but her one-note expression of pouting bemusement does grow tiresome after awhile. The real trouble, however, comes with Wahlberg, a fine actor who has turned in some impressive film performances in the past, but who is just plain disastrous in this part. His character is supposed to be a suave, debonair gentleman who attempts to win Reggie's confidence after her husband has been murdered for stealing $6 million and she becomes the hapless target of a band of hooligans who want their share and who believe she knows where it is. Wahlberg has never looked more uncomfortable or out of place than he does here, trying to appear `sincere' and `concerned, ' but coming across as merely epicene and amateurish. This is, in fact, the worst case of miscasting I have seen in a film in a long, long time. How can one have a remake of `Charade' - of all films! - with two stars who lack charisma and generate zero romantic chemistry when they're together on screen?

Even more detrimental, perhaps, is the fact that virtually all the wonderful humor from the original script has been excised, a strange turn of events indeed considering the fact that the original writer, Peter Stone, also had a hand in this venture (here he has assumed the pseudonym of `Peter Joshua,' one of the names ascribed to the Grant character in the earlier film, although the name, for no apparent reason, has been inverted for Wahlberg). The very few comic lines that have been retained are delivered so poorly by the actors that we wince every time we hear them.

So now we have a remake of `Charade' utterly devoid of humor and romance. What else could go wrong? Well, in the original, the secondary characters all stood out as finely drawn figures in their own right. The three men chasing Reggie for the money – James Coburn, Ned Glass and Arthur Kennedy – had each a retinue of fascinating personality quirks that helped distinguish one character from the other. In `Charlie,' the three `villains' not only comprise a blandly homogenous group, but they do not even remain consistent as characters. The most egregious example is Lola (Lisa Gay Hamilton) who spends the entire film bullying and threatening Regina, then inexplicably and in a matter of minutes, becomes some sort of heroine whom Regina comes to love and admire. It makes no sense at all. The concluding scene, in which the characters all meet up together to reveal their true identities and unravel the mystery, is so ham-handed in its execution that one wonders if the filmmakers ever even saw the flawlessly executed Donen original. It is the low point in a film made up of little else but low points. Demme has also injected an idiotic plot strand involving Reggie's husband's insane mother, but the less said about that the better. In fact, one suspects that the sole reason for this storyline is to allow the director to feature famed French director Agnes Varda in a cameo role. Indeed, `Charlie' is filled with all sorts of pointless homages to French culture in general and the French New Wave in particular, including a clip from Truffaut's `Shoot the Piano Player' and a truly bizarre cabaret scene with famed Jean Luc Godard actress Anna Karina belting out a song while the characters perform a surreal tango that throws us out of the film's world completely. In fact, Demme has tried to recreate much of the style of 60's cinema by employing a camera that rarely ever sits still and a razzle-dazzle editing technique that attempts to substitute style for substance. The effort is too self-consciously cutesy to be even slightly effective.

This does, however, bring us to the one undeniable element of value in `The Truth About Charlie': Tak Fujimoto's eye-popping cinematography, which does a superlative job bringing out the colorful richness of the Paris setting.

A word of praise to anything or anyone else involved in this production would, however, be excessive. Demme has taken a film that just about defines the word `style' and turned it into a hollow, soulless exercise utterly devoid of wit, suspense, romance and star charisma – all the elements in fact that made `Charade' such a golden, timeless treasure. Avoid the theaters and head to the nearest video store to pick up a copy of `Charade' - and see what a great film is really all about.
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1/10
Jonathan, how could you?
mmckaibab22 May 2003
I really wanted to like this movie. Jonathan Demme is one of my favorite film makers and I thought if anyone could remake one of my favorite movies of all time, Demme could. Demme couldn't.

Newton and Robbins are ok, Wahlberg doesn't work at all, and the other "evil" characters who were so memorable in Charade come across as interchangeable cyphers.

I usually like Demme's music selection, but here there didn't seem to be any sort of unifying theme behind his music. And, it certainly wasn't Mancini's wonderful score.

But the biggest Truth about Charlie is that Demme's rewrite is simply awful.

In the original, Charlie is a nobody and so he doesn't get in the way of all the other characters. Here he has a face and is, apparently, the big villain, so we have to be treated to a slew of foggy flashbacks that halt the flow of the story.

Newton and Wahlberg lip-lock so early, there's absolutely none of the playful sexual tension of the original. And, instead of Grant's cocky, end-of-the-film surprise, we get a bathetic Wahlberg begging Newton to forgive him. Bleacch.

The reworking of the story that sets everything in motion is so muddled I'm still not sure just exactly what was happening and why.

And the final big thing missing is the element of wonderful surprise Donen crafted so well. In the original Grant's multiple characters are peeled back with delicious surprise at each new revelation ending with the final, perfect surprise at the end of the film. And the moment when the original film reveals the big secret is still thrilling, even after watching it a dozen times. In Charlie, the big secret becomes a tiny flicker of something in Newton's eyes and when it is finally revealed, it's a moment that the word "anticlimax" was designed for.

It's such a shame that Demme made such a muddle of something that originally was so clean and clearly presented. As so many others have done, I strongly recommend you skip this one and just go back to the original.
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4/10
There Was No Point In Making This
ccthemovieman-12 September 2006
This was strange. I had no idea what this film was about as it was a free loan and I just put in the machine, not even reading the back of the box. Well, obviously it didn't take long to figure out this was a re-make of the famous 1963 film "Charade."

It's not really bad on it's own but if you've watched and admired Charade a half dozen times as I have, this film isn't even close measuring up. Mark Wahlberg is no Cary Grant; Thandie Newton is no Audry Hepburn and Tim Robbins in no Walter Matthau.

Why settle for second-rate after having first-rate? I mean, why even bother? It's not like you are updating some old black-and-white movie to accommodate today's crowd which won't look at B&W. The original still looks good (on the Criterion DVD).
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2/10
A travesty of a remake puts all to shame
jimor15 July 2004
REVIEW: The Truth About Charlie, for IMDB, July 13, 2004

As "rosscinema" says in a previous post, "Why did they bother?" Well, they bothered for the same reason virtually all Hollywood films are made: to make **MONEY**, lots of MONEY! No one in their right mind would attempt to duplicate two so magic stars as Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn from the original "Charade", but some studio type thought they could cost in on the deserved reputation of the original for excellence, and make a bundle before the critics and the public got to see what a stinker this would-be remake is. Mark Wahlberg may have a certain presence, but a Cary Grant his is NOT and never will be; and that woman taking Hepburn's part was simply pathetic, what with her little moues of pseudo-British mouthings. Audrey, who was the quintessence of delicate dignity and charm, would spin in her grave, if she could. And with the change of dating to reflect, not the Second World War, but post-Vietnam, the entire tenor of the original was changed from a charming 'escapade-avec-larceny', to a mad chase with the modern dictum of 'diversity' with a cast more suited to a tract on multiculturalism, than anything having to do with telling a coherent story! The 'stamps' were well explained in the original, but here they are a throwaway plot device that more confuses than illuminates. And 'la belle Paris', mon Dieu, how it is ignored and abused in this tawdry effort; what was charming even in the face of murder and crime in the original, is merely seedy here. There is no magic between the stars as in "Charade", just some groping. And where was the duplicate of the crafty Walter Matthau character? Tim Robbins is a good actor, but here he is no replacement for the Mr. Dyle. And that dismal woman who is the police inspector is merely awful in this tiresome flick. If you have never seen "Charade" you must not let this failure make you think the original is as bad, for you would be denying yourself one of the finest delights of the modern screen, and the sight of two of its greatest luminaries, Grant and Hepburn, in very good form!
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1/10
Its Rubbish That's The Truth About It
greene51523 December 2005
'The Truth About Charlie' Is a wholly unnecessary re-take of the Stanley Donen Classic Charade. Mark Wahlberg,is no Cary Grant. Thandie Newton, looks as if she walked In to the wrong production, Tim Robbins, appears as a US embassy official who phones in his performance. The only interesting thing about this waste of celluloid is the Parisian locations. It's a rather tedious film that goes to show.if it ain't broke don't fix it. I managed to see this flick on its brief run, it vanished in the space of a week, i wonder why. One word of advice rent or buy the superb original Charade Cary Grant Audery Hepburn, Iam sure Cary Grant would turn in his grave! This one should be filed under unnecessary remakes.
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4/10
All over the map -- it doesn't know what it wants to be
jmoney-26 October 2002
At a recent Q & A session, director Jonathan Demme said he had a difficult time finding the right tone the film. Having seen the picture, I can tell you -- he still hasn't found it.

The movie, a remake of the 1963 Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn classic Charade, may take place mostly in Paris, but it's really all over the map. It doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a comedy? Is it a romance? Is it a thriller? For a time it tries to be all of the above -- and fails at each one.

Demme, speaking to an audience in Philadelphia following an advance screening, said the movie could have gone in vastly different directions in the editing room. For example, another version could have been much funnier. I don't doubt it. There are some good elements in place.

Mark Wahlberg, stepping into the Cary Grant role, is surprisingly debonair. This role officially puts him light-years away from his early '90s white-rapper persona. Don't get me wrong, he's still no Cary Grant -- but watching him in this film, you can easily see him as an American James Bond.

Following in Audrey Hepburn's heels is the to-die-for Thandie Newton. Combining beauty, sophistication, elegance and vulnerability, Newton more than succeeds in bringing a Hepburn-like quality to her character. She also gets boatloads more screen time than Wahlberg, which isn't a bad thing considering she's the best thing in the movie.

If only the story didn't fall apart in the second act, as all tension and suspense evaporates. Things come back together in the third act, but it's too late.

The movie also exceeds its quota of cliches. For instance, how many times have you seen foreigners in movies begin conversations in another language -- only to switch into perfect English after a couple of sentences? Well, in this movie, get ready to see it again... and again.

Then there's the car accident scene -- we hear squealing brakes and crunching metal off-screen, then Demme actually gives us a shot of a hub cap rolling across the street! The movie gives us no indication these bits are meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

There is one terrific foot chase that Demme admits is inspired by Run Lola Run. The scene has energy, suspense, humor and fun -- all things the rest of the movie tries, but fails to achieve.
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3/10
A terrible remake of a great classic
rbverhoef18 December 2006
'The Truth About Charlie' is not worthy to be a remake of the great 'Charade'. To be honest, I don't even get why they had to remake that film since it still works today, both as a Hitchcockian thriller and as comedy. But they did remake it, and where the original film stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, two of the greatest stars in the movies, this film gives us Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton. Personally I like Wahlberg, especially in 'Boogie Nights', 'Three Kings' and later film 'The Departed', but apparently this role was for Grant only; Wahlberg does not pull it off. For me personally Newton ruined the film. I never understood whether this film contained the comedic elements as they were in 'Charade' or not, but whatever it was, it felt weird and out of place. Mainly, Newton's performance was the cause of this.

The second distraction comes from Paris as the setting. Director Jonathan Demme, who has lost most of his 'The Silence of the Lambs'-touch, is too much in love with it. By now the world has seen the Eiffel Tower, and for that matter has heard Charles Aznavour (who appears from time to time), and the film does not realize this. If the story is only a backdrop for a place and an atmosphere, at least show us elements of both things we are not acquainted with. The story, by the way, deals with Newton as Regina Lambert who finds out Charlie, her husband for three months, now dead, used to lead more than one life. Apparently he had six million dollars in diamonds and now the French police, a couple of former soldiers who fought with Charlie, and a character played by Tim Robbins are after it. Mark Wahlberg's character named Joshua Peters pops up everywhere Newton seems to need him, meaning his role will stay vague as long as the film wants it to be.

When the closing scenes finally arrived I did not care anymore. Who was who and why and for what reason; it didn't matter to me, I was just glad the film was over. The final scenes were supposed to have some suspense in it, but even that was spoiled by annoying close-ups and many cuts. I have seen quite some bad films over the years but this time I was really amazed with such good material wasted in such a complete way.
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"If it ain't broke..."
RitchCS2 April 2003
OK, so I didn't waste eight bucks at the box office, nor did I spend four bucks at Blockbuster; luckily, I had credit at Netflix.com so I didn't spend a dime to see this latest of Hollywood remakes. Apparently very few screenwriters can come up with original ideas, so we wind up with a new version of an old favorite month after month. I hope that Mr. Demme is out of rehab by now, because he must've been on some kind of delusional trip when he got the idea to remake a classic. I've read all the reviews posted here at IMDB, and for the life of me I cannot see the rants and raves for Thandie Newton. Poor child, why didn't her mother tell her NOT to attempt to recreate an Audrey Hepburn role? She has about as much cinematic charisma as a pile of sawdust. Early in the movie when she's standing between the French Commandant and the Lieutenant, Ms. Newton completely disappears. I was watching the Lt. more than the star of the picture. Seeing the extras on the DVD, Mr. Demme proclaimed he was looking for the right vehicle for Ms. Newton's talent (or did he have more prurient interests in her off camera?). The worst scene was the gunpoint standoff which I found myself looking at my watch, wondering how long could this go on? I've always been a huge fan of Tim Robbins, but what in heaven's name, was the accent he was trying to use? I can't blame Mark Wahlberg, he chomped at the bit to play a romantic lead. Damn! Had he never seen the original film and realized whom he would be compared to? This was truly sad. There's no reason to continue tearing this piece of schlock frame by frame, but the closing credits??? Mr. Demme chose to dedicate this to his late brother...who's surely rolling over in his grave from this. Ms. Portman's music even had to use the Mancini theme to compensate for her lack of originality. Then, I wouldn't have believed this if I hadn't seen it...someone at Universal Pictures had the gall to put the original "Charade" on the flip side of the "Charlie" DVD. Stupidity? Insanity? Audacity? There is NO word for it! God! What a mess!!!
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In an overall comparison between the "Charade" and `Charlie,' the latter is the imposter-no ambiguity intended.
jdesando24 October 2002
So Cary grant and Audrey Hepburn are unfortunately dead. That means director Jonathan Demme (`Silence of the Lambs') must find suitable replacements for his remake of `Charade' called `The Truth about Charlie.' Will Smith was his first choice-Mark Wahlberg (`Planet of the Apes') took the Grant role. Thandi Newton (`Mission Impossible 2') plays Hepburn's role. Neither carries the film, which requires a certain amount of international sophistication and charm.

Set in Paris, `The Truth about Charlie' starts with a murder and the victim's money, which everyone seems to want. It has touches of the old American love of Paris, e.g., the tower appears regularly. But it is a more modern Paris than the original film's: Cinematographer Tak Fujimoto (`Signs' `The Silence of the Lambs') said, `We wanted to make the city feel mysterious and scary. We wanted it overcast and gray-different from the traditional view of Paris, more realistic, more paranoid.'

A Ferris-wheel scene with Wahlberg and Tim Robbins, who reprises the Walter Matthau role, evokes the mystery and danger of Sir Carol Reed's `Third Man.' That most American of images, the incarcerated Hannibal Lecter, ends the film with a fitting tribute to his invulnerability.

Back to Wahlberg and Newton. The success of the film, then and now, rests with the leads, and they failed. Wahlberg is flat, expressionless, 2 dimensional. Newton lacks the acting chops to navigate the aftershocks of a husband's murder and the barrage of interest in his money, hidden somewhere in plain sight. Robbins comes closest to a screen presence, part mountebank, part protector, and part enigma.

The original title `Charade' better expresses the delicious ambiguity of European intrigue where nothing is as it seems, and people are not what they appear. In this regard, `Charlie' fulfills the promise. For a modern look, it also succeeds.

But in an overall comparison between the 2 films, `Charlie' is the imposter-no ambiguity intended.
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4/10
What a Ridiculous Remake of 'Charade' !
claudio_carvalho26 December 2003
Cinema is art, therefore is not to be copied. Nobody copies a Picasso or a successful romance, for example. No matter how similar it could be, it would be a copy of an artistic piece without any value. Therefore, remakes of great movies are totally unnecessary. The original 'Charade' was not a masterpiece, but a great movie, with a charming central pair (Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant) and funny situations and dialogues. But this 'The Truth About Charlie' is really ridiculous. Beginning with the choice of the lead actress and actor. Thandie Newton and Mark Wahlberg performing the roles of Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant respectively is outrageous. The modifications in the original plot made the delight of 'Charade' be lost. Do not waste your time with this film, rent or buy the original one. By the way, I have a friend who knows by heart many dialogues of the original 'Charade'. Jonathan Demme has not probably paid attention on the wonderful original text, otherwise he would try at least to reproduce some of them. My vote is four.
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1/10
This makes the dogs sit up and say "bow wow" !!!
geode26 May 2003
Fortunately I saw this pathetic production as free inflight "entertainment" and none of my money will go as a "vote" towards any sort of approval. Forget comparisons to the delightful "Charade", this film would be a total dud even if it had been released as a brand new entry. The word inept can be applied to almost every aspect. The script is so muddled that it is hard to really know what is going on at times, and boring when the plot does emerge. The acting generally matches the script, and the direction is worse. Intrusive and obnoxious camera moves are everywhere, and make it impossible to enjoy any of the location shooting. The "stars" have absolutely no "star power" or charisma, so why show their inadequacies in so many tight close-ups ? The choice of Mark Wahlburg is the worst miscast since Sofia Coppola in The Godfather Part III. Tim Robbin's amateurish imitation of Walter Matthau's speech inflections is at least an attempt at a performance, but laughable if meant to be taken seriously. It comes off like a Saturday Night Live parody. The music is completely forgettable and does nothing to supplement the film. I have never missed Henry Mancini more than while watching this mess of sight and sound.

And be honest, how many movies slither to such an anti-climatic climax as this one does ? ...with the added irony that this is a re-make of a film with one of the better endings in film history ?

"Charade" is a film that works on every level, this film does not work at all. It is interesting that the same plot could yield such vastly different results. I give it 1 out of 10, only because there is no "zero" option. This is one of the 100 worst films I have ever seen.

This film makes the dogs sit up and say "bow wow"...
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1/10
Doesn't even deserve stars!
crazyaboutshoes2 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was one of the most insulting movies I've ever seen! Not only does it not follow the plot of "Charade", but it's also inconsistent and doesn't make much sense! For an example, what happened to Tex Panthollow, Leopold W. Gideon, and Herman Scobie? These new "villains" are nothing but awful, and the least bit funny. One of the best parts of "Charade" were the memorable quotes, and The Truth About Charlie failed to use any of them. You just cannot remake a movie without following the plot, using at least some of the original dialogue, and using the same names. For whatever reason, the director decided to change "Peter Joshua" to "Joshua Peters", and made him "Mr. Bartholemew's brother". Also, aren't ALL the villains supposed to end up being ? Charade had the most amazing cast-Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. James Coburn, Walter Matthau, Ned Glass, and George Kennedy were amazing as well. "You greenhorn! ... You fell for it like an egg from a tall chicken!" who could forget quotes like that? If you've seen Charade, I guarantee you will NOT like The Truth About Charlie. Charade fans, DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS MOVIE!
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1/10
Simply Awful
smokehill retrievers17 January 2010
Other reviewers have explained just why this is a ghastly embarrassment, so I won't belabor the point.

I would like, however, to nominate this as possibly the worst remake in history.

Its only real competition, perhaps, is the little-known (thankfully) musical version of Lost Horizons.

The Lost Horizons remake had the advantage, however, of being hilarious to watch if you had a few drinks and some popcorn, and needed a really good laugh.

This dreadful thing, though, is just tedious and embarrassing to everyone who was roped into participating.
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3/10
Horribly Done
bmoviesrule26 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
*possible spoilers*

first time I'm writing a review on here, and only because the movie was that bad. [I have yet to see the original (Charade) but will soon, and I highly doubt it is a waste of film like the remake.]

Why was this movie so bad? For one, the acting. Tim Robbins surprising was horrible. He read his lines like he was being forced to make the movie at gunpoint. There was very little character development, Thandie Newton and Mark Wahlberg somehow fell in love with each other in 5 minutes. Despite the fact that Mark Wahlberg constantly lies to her, and she has reason to believe he has bad intentions, she still flirts with him the entire movie.

Another major flaw with the movie was that it was full of actions that made no sense. Imagine an action movie where the unarmed hero passes up every oppurtunity to pick up a gun, 500 times. The protagonist meets people out to get her deceased husband's money any way possible, and is friendly to them halfway through the movie, for no reason. Though she supposedly trusts no one, her actions show her taking everything at face value. She is approached by a man claiming to be from a US agency, only she never checks to see if this is true, even with the french police.

It's also worth mentioning that Robbins was not the only one who gave a poor performance. Wahlberg was extremely bland, and the 3 other people after Regina's money gave lackluster performances, adding very little to the movie.

That all said, what really bugged me about this movie was how pretentious it was. It pretended to be an artsy French movie, only it wasn't. Especially in poor taste were the scenes where performer singing the song in the background would then appear in the movie. Even worse were the actors acknowledging his presence.

In summary, if the plot on the box intrigues you, save yourself the frustration and watch the original, it's on the other side of the DVD.
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3/10
I sure hope the pay was good...
Maciste_Brother26 April 2005
Not really a remake of CHARADE but a homage of French cinema of the 1960s, THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE is a remarkably wonky thing that has to be seen to be believe. It's very difficult for me to believe that producers and folks at the studio didn't see that something was not quite right when they saw bits and pieces of this during production. I mean, the whole thing is totally kooky. I hate to say disaster or a mess because I believe the end product is exactly what the director wanted. So the only thing I can say though: does it work? No, it doesn't work.

I'm not a big fan of CHARADE (too cute for my taste) so I don't feel like this "remake" is akin to blasphemy but I have to say that this is one of the weirdest studio films I've seen in many, many years. Things aren't made better with the fact that the film was mostly (if not entirely) shot on HD video, which doesn't look good at all. Looks like a series of home movies of famous actors with too much time on their hands than an actual film.

One is only left asking: what were they thinking?
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1/10
Why didn't Ebert condemn Demme?
shiftmaster13 September 2009
Almost every comment about this movie goes into great detail in how disjointed and awful this remake is and I wholeheartedly agree with all the condemnation. What is amazing to me is that Roger Ebert's review states that while the original "Charade" has been voted the 168th best film ever he thinks this catastrophic abomination is justified because Thandie Newton photographs well. The attempts to bring bits of French films into the remake are an insult as all the original film fit the pattern of a standard American thriller, the only connection to France being the location. Nearly all of the humor of Cary Grant, like his line about leaving a bad guy hanging around American Express, almost a precursor to some of Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry or Swartaneggar's wise cracks were completely omitted. This film should not only have gotten a thumbs down but should have been Hanniblized.
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Not sterling, but interesting, remake of Charade (1963).
TxMike7 May 2004
First let me get off my chest -- the absurdity of the 13% votes that are "1" for this movie. Maybe 4,5,6, or 7 ... but those who voted "1" are not to be taken seriously. The movie is an updated re-make of 'Charade' (1963), and you can't replace Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. In fact, Mark Wahlberg was a poor choice for the Grant role. Nic Cage might have been perfect. Regardless, the beginning and the end are quite different from the original, but the core story is the same. Having seen 'Charade', I knew what to expect, but it still was fun seeing the actors create the roles. Much of it was done 'tongue in cheek', especially Tim Robbins' role as the mysterious agent. Overall an interesting 100 minutes, if for no other reason than to see a more modern take on the original.

I've always liked Thandie Newton since I saw her (along with Nicole Kidman) in the Australian movie 'Flirting.' Right now she is on a TV series, but she is a better actress than that. In this movie, one scene where she is hurrying into a hotel on a rainy day, as she turns to go in, the inside camera shot shows her slipping down, rebounding quickly, and getting on with the scene. The director commentary on the DVD confirmed what I figured, the slip was accidental by Thandie stayed in character. '
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7/10
The Truth is that this film is actually pretty good (SPOILERS POSSIBLE)
Jagged-1124 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
It would be fair to say that Hollywood remakes are generally a tricky prospect, be it an 'Americanization' of a foreign film or an update of a beloved 'classic', the problem is that these films are generally characterized as soulless cash-ins, created by greedy Hollywood big-wigs in the hope of increasing the annual dividends. These films are usually slaughtered by critics, rejected by the public and left to wallow in obscurity. So now we come to 'The truth about Charlie' a remake of the Hepburn/Grant classic 'Charade', which judging by Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and the IMDB score (a rather underwhelming 4.8) has been tossed by the critics and public alike, on the ever increasing pile of Hollywood's misconceived projects. It's a pity really because I actually enjoyed 'The Truth about Charlie' (although I must confess I haven't seen the original version; 'Charade', as I may have been a little harsher if I had) and felt the reaction it received was not completely justified, as there are numerous reasons to recommend this film.

The film begins with Regina Lambert (Thandie Newton) returning home to her apartment in Paris, only to find the place ransacked and her husband nowhere to be found, however she is soon informed by the police that he has been murdered. It's not long before an entourage of mysterious characters appears who are quick to inform Regina that her husband had a past, had managed to make away with $6 million and that they're very keen to get they're hands on the loot and are perfectly willing to go to extreme lengths to do so. It's not all bad for Regina, as she manages to find some comfort (and more) with handsome stranger Joshua Peters (Mark Wahlberg), although an American agent named Louis Bartholomew (Tim Robbins) warns her to be wary of Joshua as his motives may well be duplicitous. Of course it soon becomes very difficult for Regina to know who she can trust, as she is soon being cornered by a trio of disgruntled thugs, by Joshua Peters, by Louis Bartholomew and by the French Authorities all of whom seem to believe she has knowledge of the money's whereabouts.

And the plot twists just keep on coming, some obvious, some surprising and none superfluous. A film like this needs a strong, likeable, believable protagonist who holds your attention throughout the film. 'The truth about Charlie' is lucky in that it has Thandie Newton to carry the lead role, as she has managed to draw favorable comparisons with Hepburn's performance in the original, having not seen 'Charade' I can't comment on that, although she does posses something of a likeness to Hepburn and has her own brand of infectious charm, achieved largely through her ability to convincingly balance vulnerability and strength in a character. Newton is perfect for the role and the film would not be nearly so good without her and one can only hope she will soon join the Hollywood A-list as she has more than enough talent to deserve to do so. The same cannot be said for her (more famous) co-star; Mark Wahlberg. He comes across as bland and unlikable; there's something strangely obnoxious about him and the script gives little opportunity for character development, while Wahlberg demonstrates his limited acting range and lack of chemistry with Newton. The rest of the cast give solid performances in their mostly one-dimensional roles, Tim Robbins being the stand-out. The film does have a few plot hole (without wishing to give too much away one character sacrifices their life to save Regina, even though they perhaps would be more inclined to kill her than rescue her) and the ending is contrived and mawkish, clearly they wanted to tie all the loose threads together and also hoped to increase the films commercial potential. Acclaimed director Jonathon Demme captures the atmosphere of the sleazy side of Paris perfectly, and the soundtrack, which is comprised mostly of French Pop, also adds flavour to the film (and is remarkably similar to the soundtrack used in Neil Jordan's 'The Good Thief').

Whilst those who adored 'Charade' are liable to loathe this film, I'd recommend that anyone interested in stylish thrillers were little is what it seems (and almost all the characters have at least two names) check this film out. My score 7 out of 10
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7/10
It wasn't bad
blueyesncal23 September 2003
Don't you hate when people say, It wasn't "BAD".....In a movie that trys to re-make the classic "Charade", I give it a B-, or 7 stars. It's true to the original in many regards, however I would question the casting of Mark Wahlberg in the Cary Grants character. Thandi is perfect as the character played by Audrey. Casting of a woman to play the Parisian police detective, as a woman the leader of the gang. Otherwise a pleasant re-make and less violent too! Best bet for a cold saturday afternoon on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn.
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7/10
Good, but with a few short-comings.
niwert28 April 2003
This movie is very good. Thandie Newton does a terrific job! She is absolutely beautiful, and is very very funny. She does a wonderful job as the lead character. She plays Regina Lambert a little more independent than Audrey Hepburn did. Newton really pulls the movie along, especially when considering Mark Wahlberg's performance. This is an incident of poor casting. Wahlberg tries to play the character too seriously when compared to the performances of the rest of the cast. He does not pull of the "fool" aspect of his character either. Now, to get back to the positives, Tim Robbins is very entertaining. His seens' are quite amusing and captivating. Christine Boisson portrays a very strong character with an incredibly strong performance. I cannot say that I am familiar with her work, but I think it safe to say I might enjoy it as well.

The Truth About Charlie is a good movie. Compared with Charade, I would say that "Charlie" is one poor casting and a few holes in the screenplay from being as good as Charade.
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OK...THAT was weird...
kari2you10 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Charade is an inconsequential but lovable classic. The Truth About Charlie is just weird.

I don't fault Demme for trying to rework Charade into something more contemporary. It could have been a fun, interesting exercise. But the product is neither fun nor interesting, except in spurts.

Charade was a romantic-comedy-thriller, with an emphasis on the romantic comedy. It wasn't serious in any way -- for example, while the bad guys were not nice, they provided more comic relief than menace. It was light, mildly suspenseful, and anything but realistic. What's wrong with that? (As Regina would say, "Absolutely nothing.")

The Truth About Charlie can't decide what it's supposed to be. How can a movie make so many homages to its predecessor (and films from completely disparate '60s genres like French New Wave) and still try to be a Mission: Impossible-like action-adventure for the 21st Century? And why, after following the plot of Charade almost scene-by-scene for half the movie, does it diverge from original in ways that make it less cohesive AND less suspenseful?

And the showdown at the end? (***Mild spoiler here, if you care...***)On the DVD commentary, Demme said he wanted to avoid having the characters use guns to solve problems -- that's why the hero gets to play hostage negotiator and talk down the situation -- but why, then, did Demme film it like a John Woo 21-gun standoff scene? The "reveal" was horrible. The supposed motivation for Dyal was ridiculous. The whole last third stunk.

Not that the rest was that great. Thandie Newton has star quality and was a good pick to update an Audrey Hepburn role, which makes casting an anti-Cary like Mark Wahlberg even more absurd. Wahlberg can be appealing in earnest and earthy roles, but why on earth would Regina Lampert find him attractive? Tim Robbins in the Walter Matthau role (complete with a trace Matthau accent) is rather funny until the showdown scene, which ruins him. The three pursuers are more diverse in a PC way than the originals, but their personalities are much less distinct. And why bother with giving the French police roles more play when they don't end up being more than mildly useful to the plot? Argh!

Now for the good part: Interesting camera work and new-Paris soundtrack. I imagine many other fans of Charade would hate those changes from the original, but they worked for me, and would have been great assets if the story had been better told and cast.
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Intelligent, Funny, Innovative
mrh71177@yahoo.com11 November 2002
"The Truth About Charlie" is an imaginative film that avoids traditional Hollywood filmmaking. If you are looking for the original version, "Charade," I would suggest renting it. "The Truth About Charlie" is it's own film. After all, what is the point of a remake if it's just a replica? In it's own right this interpretation is clever and funny. The dance scene alone makes the film worth watching. Director, Jonathan Demme, has created a world of chaos and confusion filled with fascinating characters and framed by the charming city of Paris. Like the protagonist, Regina (Thandie Newton), the audience doesn't know whom to trust, which makes it unavoidable to sympathize with her. There are several great actors featured including Joong-Hoon Park, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Ted Levine, and Christine Boisson. Thandie Newton is wonderful and, if you find Mark Wahlberg's performance to be insincere, think about the story itself and how that might add to the plot. This film is certainly not a no-brainer. Demme is a remarkably talented director who works well with actors and makes strong choices. "The Truth About Charlie" is another example of why he is one of the best.
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What is wrong with you people??
McGonigle14 April 2004
This is an enjoyable action thriller. It's not a classic like Charade, but it's a fun movie in its own right. I think the biggest problem people had is that Demme had the AUDACITY to cast an actor who's COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from Cary Grant as the male lead. No, this movie isn't Charade, and it doesn't need to be; we've already got Charade. If you want to see Grant and Hepburn, then WATCH CHARADE, OK?

If you want to see a fun variation on Charade, with talented young actors and the director's own tributes to the French New Wave that was contemporary with the original movie, watch this. And, since it's a Jonathan Demme movie, it also features great performances and great music. If you can't get past the fact that this is a DIFFERENT MOVIE from Charade, with DIFFERENT ACTORS and a DIFFERENT STYLE, then don't waste your time watching it, and don't waste our time by coming here to moan about it. Just go watch Charade, and leave this movie for those of us who can appreciate Charade as an inspiration rather than a sacred text.
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7/10
not Charade, but has it's own merits.
vamp8814 June 2003
If your expecting Charade just re-shot and re-cast you'll get the unexpected. I guess the producers new better. The original is a classic with an exceptional cast. So this movie must be judged on its own. Some scenes are very familiar, but many of my personal favorites are not anywhere to be found in this new version, and the although the 3 main parts are cast well (there not Hepburn, Grant and Matthau, but they do a serviceable job), but there really isn't a stand out supporting cast (like Coburn, and Kennedy). I'll admit some scenes, dialogue, and plot points are similar, but so much of it isn't that it stands on it's own as much as it relies on the original. The main thing this version lacked was the fun mild sort of comedy that the original possessed. It's too bad it has to be compared to the original but remakes always are. This movie was entertaining, had intrigue and was worth seeing on its own, I do recommend it. But when compared to the original you realize that they did it right the first time. Check it out but try to leave the comparisons behind or you could be disappointed.
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