It's not that Trust the Man is a bad movie. It's not without some merit. But it's a film that could have been better had some time been taken with the script and with the direction. Spain's great filmmaker, Almodovar, complained this week that American movies have year by year become worse and worse because of their scripts. This film serves as a great example of what Almodovar is referring to.
The problem is that we're no longer writing characters in scripts, we're writing what I call "Oddities" - characters with a one-dimensional problem that makes them kooky but leaves them being just a type. It's more of a freak-show approach to storytelling (step right up and see the sex addict, step right up and see the woman who desperately wants to get married and have babies, etc). Here we have four great actors who are all playing oddities. Duchovny is the sex addict whose addiction is tempered by the fact he's a Mr. Mom and a great one too. His wife, played by Julianne Moore, isn't all that interested in sex for some reason which is not really made clear in the film. She's definitely attracted to him and the two seem to have a rather physically intense romantic relationship. But hey Screen writing 101 says conflict is necessary, so if the husband is a sex addict let's make his wife frigid for no apparent reason.
Likewise with the Gyllenhaal and Crudup characters. He's obsessed with being single, so guess what, let's make her obsessed with being married. As you can see this is a rather unclever film.
But there are funny moments. There are some great lines spread throughout the film. But it's long boring and you'll cringe as everyone seems to have a scene in which they break down and cry their eyes out in an almost childish spat.
This is the other main dysfunction of the film. Instead of making things believably come from the characters the film just pushes us this way and that way making things happen because it might be funny or it helps tie up loose ends, but it doesn't work with the stark realism of the New York setting. For instance, Duchovny's character starts to have an affair even though it's so clear that he's in love with his wife. We never for once think he is that sexually starved that he'd risk infidelity. Likewise we never for once believe that Julianne Moore's character is that disinterested in sex. She even takes out her friend after a breakup for some hot sex with an "attentive man." She goes as far as to admit having a threesome back in college. Does this sound like a woman who has no sexual interest whatsoever? And there's some question of whether she was having an affair too, though it seems like something was left on the editing room floor that would have explained that a little further.
Oh and for some reason Billy Crudup starts following around his therapist. Once again for no reason.
And the ending is just bad. It doesn't seem believable to begin with and comes off like sweetened sacchrine. Which is a shame because these two couples actually have chemistry.
It just takes too much time and sags around the midpoint of the 2nd act.
Plus for some reason there's a scene with Duchovny and Crudup talking where Duchovny ends the scene by suddenly announcing "I have to go" and then leaving. It's a rather poorly directed moment that seriously bothered me. Why does a character have to announce that they're leaving the scene? Just have them walk away. I think the audience can figure that out. Look for the moment, it's really odd.
I went to a preview screening of the film and I wish I could have talked to the director afterwards because with about 25 minutes of trimming they could have had a much tighter, old-style Woody Allen sort of film.
Sadly Almodovar is right. American scripts are at their lowest. Look at Superman Returns, Miami Vice, and now even this independent work. At least Fox Searchlight is also releasing Little Miss Sunshine at the moment. That movie is phenomenal and might be one of the few gems that refutes Almodovar's theory. But there's far too much to prove it.
I ask film-lovers out there. Why are we still accepting adequate films today? Why don't we hope for something more. Why don't we raise the level and say give us good films.
Adequate just ain't good enough.
Trust the Man
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Trust the Man
Comedy / Drama / Romance
New York. Rebecca (Moore), an actress, is crushed to discover that her marriage may be falling apart. Her husband Tom (Duchovny) leaving long-suffering Rebecca to pick up the pieces of their relationship. Rebecca's brother Tobey (Crudup), meanwhile, is in a long-term relationship with Elaine (Gyllenhaal) that has begun to turn sour. Both couples are spoiled and bratty.
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February 11, 2019 at 01:48 AM