Trust the Man

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Trust the Man
Review (7/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

Rebecca (Julianne Moore) is a successful actress. Her husband, Tom (David Duchovny), is in the throes of a mid-life crisis and has left his high-profile advertising career to stay at home, watching their children with one eye while surfing internet porn with the other. When Rebecca discovers that Tom has been acting out some of those porn fantasies with the flirtatious mother of one of their son?s schoolmates, she has to decide - does she trust the man?

Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is an aspiring writer who is putting in her time as the overworked personal assistant to a powerful female executive. Her boyfriend of eight years, Tobey (Billy Crudup), is a successful writer with an obsessive fear of death. When Tobey refuses to take their relationship to the next level, Elaine has to decide - does she trust the man?

Trust the Man is the latest project of writer/director Bart Freundlich ("The Myth of Fingerprints", "World Traveler"). Those of you who are unfamiliar with his work may be familiar with his famous actress wife - Academy Award nominee (and star of this film) Julianne Moore.

This is one of those "relationship" films that women tend to enjoy and men tend to dread. Set in Manhattan, it examines the differences between men and women in their approach to their relationships and their lives. It is billed as a comedy although, personally, I would say it fits more into the light drama category. It is witty and has its amusing moments, but it falls short of the comedies by directors such as Woody Allen or Blake Edwards, which is the type of comedy that it is trying to be.

In spite of some shortcomings, I didn?t mind this film. Duchovny and Crudup were well-cast and convincing in their roles, and were given some great material with which to develop their characters. Their performances were the high point of this movie. Although Freundlich?s script was rather male-centric, the male characters were realistic, wonderfully flawed and surprisingly insightful.

Moore and Gyllenhaal were also well-cast but, sadly, underused. Their characters were sorely one-dimensional, likely the reflection of the fact that the script was written by a man and seems to have been dedicated to exploring the "male" point of view. At the end of the day, however, this film falls short because of its failure to provide some balance in its female characters.

Although this is not the best relationship film that I have ever seen (that title would go, hands down, to Woody Allen?s "Husbands and Wives") I would still recommend this film. It is smart and witty and it has some great performances. And, if you?re like me and prefer to spend your time watching something that requires a little more brain power than the big blockbusters and the sappy teenage drivel that tends to dominate the summer movie season, then this is the movie for you.

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