Trust the Man (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/09/2006

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

Trust the Man has its moments but it's ultimately disappointing, despite strong performances from its excellent cast.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Bart Freundlich (Julianne Moore's real-life husband), Trust the Man follows the relationship-based escapades of two New York couples: actress Rebecca (Moore) and her husband, stay-at-home dad Tom (David Duchovny); and Rebecca's brother Tobey (Billy Crudup) and his girlfriend of seven years, Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

The film is set over several months, during which Tom and Rebecca undergo couples’ therapy and get a taste of infidelity (Tom with sexy single mother Dagmara Domincyzk, Rebecca with younger co-star Justin Bartha). Meanwhile, aspiring author Elaine gets tired of waiting for slacker Tobey to grow up, so she throws him out, forcing him to sort his life out.

The Good
Duchovny trots out his familiar, wise-cracking, porn-obessed persona to initially winning effect, while Julianne Moore has fun with the standard neurotic actress cliches (her cake-eating scene is an amusing highlight). Crudup is equally good (he makes a convincing slacker), but Maggie Gyllenhaal's part is underwritten and largely thankless - it's highly unlikely she would date Glenn Fitzgerald's character, for example.

In addition, there are decent cameos from the likes of Garry Shandling, Eva Mendes and Ellen Barkin, while the script throws up the occasional good line or observation.

The Bad
That's not to say there aren't problems. For one thing, there seem to be some scenes missing between Moore and Bartha's characters, as if Freundlich chickened out of making Rebecca's infidelity equal to Tom's (instead, it's only hinted at).

The biggest problem is that the main characters are so unsympathetic that, by the end of the film, you don't really care what happens to any of them. To add insult to injury, there's a poorly-conceived Love Actually-style climax, which feels hollow and unearned, whilst aiming for crowd-pleasing sentimentality.

Worth seeing?
In short, Trust the Man is something of a disappointment, despite sterling work by a fine cast.

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Content updated: 21/08/2018 21:01

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