Trust the Man (15)
Time Out says
Tue Sep 19 2006Sarky then soppy, this initially barbed take on life, love ’n’ sex in the city offers some sharp observations, engaging performances and clever lines before collapsing towards a cringeworthily effusive climax that would make Richard Curtis blush. It’s a pity, because few romcoms pull off the basically sympathetic mining of personal vanities and social embarrassment that the film manages in its opening hour.
As Julianne Moore’s younger, less well-known husband, it’s hard not to imagine writer-director Bart Freundlich projecting something of himself onto the character of Tom (David Duchovny), stay-at-home hubbie of successful, somewhat serious actor Rebecca (Moore). If so, it’s not the most flattering self-portrait: Tom’s self-absorbed, porn-obsessed and insecure – but quite the catch in comparison to Rebecca’s younger brother Tobey (Billy Crudup), an arrested adolescent of a journalist who starts nesting in his car to avoid losing a parking spot, to the understandable consternation of his more mature girlfriend Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal). The fact that Tobey is best mates with Tom and Rebecca with Elaine keeps things nice and socially incestuous even when the shit starts to fly.
The feckless men make the stronger impression, but the women aren’t merely long-suffering: asked pantingly by Tom to describe the action of a porn flick, Rebecca delivers a deadpan critique of its production values. Freundlich also establishes a steady stream of enjoyable Manhattanite rancour, including creepy cameos by Ellen Burstyn and Gary Shandling, and a dinner party from hell. The smug glibness that characterises many of the exchanges even seems to be undercut by some serious fallout, making the film’s slide into a resolutely generic and cloyingly protracted closing set-piece, in which characters compete to make the most sickly public declaration of love, all the more depressing.
Author: Ben Walters
Fri Sep 22, 2006