It's all very well Demme wanting to get back to his lighter-hearted roots after message movies like Philadelphia and Beloved, but why rehash the romantic thriller Charade - itself a thistledown affair - when you don't have leads to match Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn? Demme has long been one of America's most appealing film-makers, but Newton and Wahlberg, as a damsel in distress and a chivalrous hero offering help when she's suddenly widowed, suspected of her secretive husband's murder, and menaced by thugs, just don't cut it. It's unfair to blame the leads, however, when the dialogue's clunky and the perilous predicaments are so thick, fast and implausible that we care about neither the solution to the 'mystery', nor the interplay of attraction, trust, betrayal and suspicion that binds the met-cute couple together. But 'there'll always be Paris', or so Demme and his team appear to believe, swapping the suave gloss of Donen's original for a flipper, hipper style intended to echo the New Wave ethos of the early '60s. Tim Robbins alone (as an embassy bod) seems to know how silly it all is, but he and the generally proficient execution can't disguise the film's fundamental pointlessness.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Jonathan Demme, Steve Schmidt, Peter Joshua Peter Stone, Jessica Bendinger|
Lisa Gay Hamilton