The Truth About Charlie (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/05/2003

One out of Five stars
Running time: 104 mins

An atrocious film, combining terrible acting, a nonsensical plot, embarrassing scenes, ludicrous editing and a ridiculous script – this is a shoo-in for one of the worst films of the year.

The Truth About Charlie seemed like a bad idea on paper - a remake of Charade with Mark Wahlberg in the Cary Grant role and Thandie Newton as Audrey Hepburn - and, as it’s turned out, it’s an even worse idea on screen.

Nothing about the film works – it really is like watching a car crash in slow motion. So it comes as a surprise, and something of a shame, to realise that it’s directed by Jonathan ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Demme.

Completely Charmless Nonsense

The plot, despite its basic similarity to the original, is completely nonsensical and the film desperately lacks the charm that’s required to pull it off.

Thandie Newton plays Regina ‘Reggie’ Lambert, who returns to Paris to discover her husband has been murdered. She soon hooks up with mystery man Mark Wahlberg and it turns out that various gangs of thieves and cops are all after her, believing her to be in possession of a missing stolen fortune.

But can Wahlberg be trusted? And what’s Tim Robbins doing skulking around the mean streets of Paris?

There is so much wrong with The Truth About Charlie that it’s difficult to know where to begin. For one thing, although Thandie Newton is extremely gorgeous, she’s been instructed to play the part exactly like Audrey Hepburn, right down to her anachronistic speech patterns.

So, Thandie sounds like she’s in a 1960s film and everyone else is in a confused mess of a thriller that can’t decide whether it wants to be French New Wave or glossy 21st century Hollywood.

Unbelievably It Gets Worse

Wahlberg is spectacularly miscast. The part calls for him to be enigmatic (so he…er…wears a beret), romantic and a little bit dangerous and he fails on all counts. Result: zero chemistry, to the point where you’re actually embarrassed for him.

It gets worse. First, they kill off their best supporting character (Demme favourite Ted Levine), then the plot takes a nosedive into ridiculous military flashbacks. On top of this, Demme persists with jaw-droppingly ill-conceived “stylish” touches, such as wheeling out Charles Aznavour to sing on screen when the characters put on one of his albums.

Presumably, Demme was trying to recapture something of the “screwball” quality he brought to Something Wild, but it’s a cataclysmic failure. It’s badly edited, badly acted and poorly written. In short, the truth about The Truth About Charlie is, it stinks. Stay away. In droves.

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The Truth About Charlie (12A)
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Content updated: 11/12/2017 21:06

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