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Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Closer is the story of two couples - Alice (Natalie Portman) and Dan (Jude Law) are couple #1 and Anna (Julia Roberts) and Larry (Clive Owen) are couple #2. Alice is an American stripper who has moved to London, England. Dan is an obituary writer and failed novelist. Anna is an American photographer also living in London and Larry is a dermatologist.

The movie takes us through the initial meeting of both couples and then through some of the trials and the tribulations that the couples' experience. Unfortunately, those trials and tribulations are devastating to both of the relationships. The cheating and the lying results in a story that, although full of many laughs, is difficult to watch at times. Closer is not a story of four good people or two nice love stories. It is a story of deception, selfishness, infidelity and revenge.

Despite the movie's rather scathing look at love (if you could even call it that) and relationships, Closer does a great job of grabbing your attention right from the beginning of the movie and keeping you more or less glued to the screen right till the end. How the movie accomplishes that goal at times is interesting, to say the least. Through comedy - the internet chat room comes to mind. Through extremely intense scenes with language that would make a porn star blush. And through Natalie Portman's naked buttocks, which was a lovely treat to see. All four actors/actresses in the movie are quite good in their respective roles, perhaps the most challenging roles of their careers. I really believed the dysfunctional relationships that I was seeing on the screen, so kudos to all four of them for delivering the goods. Perhaps not Oscar worthy performances, but Clive Owen should at least get consideration for an Adult Video Award (the porno awards I believe).

The only final piece of advice I have to give about Closer is to be very careful with whom you chose to attend this movie. I had the misfortune of bringing my mother and let me tell you, when some of that sex talk was going on, I just wanted to crawl out of my seat, up the aisle and all the way home. The ironic thing is she had this 70-year old man sitting next to her and he was cracking up the entire movie and at the end of it all, my mother said "I didn't get it". What the hell does the 70-year old know about sex talk? Pervert. Which is fine by me because some of that language, I don't want her to get.

So be forewarned. If you have sensitive ears, you may want to consider seeing Spongebob instead of Closer. Either that, or you can get a first-class lesson in some really, really dirty sex talk. Despite those uncomfortable moments that seemed like they would never end, I must say I still enjoyed Closer. The story is intriguing and the acting is excellent and it was almost refreshing to see a love story of sorts that doesn't have the typical happy ending. It's an emotional movie but not the type of emotion we are used to seeing and feeling and that's what makes Closer a movie that is worth checking out.

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