WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Claire is an attractive CIA operative and Ray is an M16 agent who simultaneously leave their Governmental spy activities in the dust to try and profit from a battle between two rival multi-national corporations both trying to launch a new product that will transform the world and make billions. Their goal is to secure the top-secret formula and get a patent before they are outsmarted. While their respective egomaniacal CEOs engage in an unending battle of wills and one-upmanship Claire and Ray start out conning and playing one another in a clever game of industrial espionage that is even more complicated due to their own long-term romantic relationship.
WHO’S IN IT?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Julia Roberts (as Claire) and Clive Owen (as Ray) turns out to be an inspired idea. They turn out to be the perfect pair oozing movie-star charm and electricity in this elaborate con-game that might have been the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant might have made in the '60s (in fact they did in Charade). Roberts with that infamous hairstyle back the way we like it and Owen looking great in sunglasses prove they have what it takes to navigate us through this ultra-complex plot in which no one is sure who they can trust at any given moment. They play it all in high style and the wit just flows as the story skirts back and forth during the period of five years. The supporting cast is well-chosen with juicy roles for Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (out of their John Adams duds) as the two CEOs going for each other’s throats. Giamatti who sometimes has a tendency to overdo it is especially slimy here and great fun to watch.
Big-star studio movies today rarely take risks and often talk down to the audience but in Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has crafted a complicated con-comedy that requires complete attention at all times just to keep up with the dense plot’s twists and turns. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a New York Times crossword puzzle and Gilroy and his top-drawer production team deliver a glossy beautiful-looking film that’s easy on the eyes hitting locations from Dubai to Rome to New York City.
Like any good puzzle it sometimes can be frustrating putting it all together and Gilroy’s habit of taking us back in time and then inching forward gets a little confusing even with the on-screen chyron pointing out where we are at any given moment. Stick with it though and you will be well-rewarded.
A scene near the end where the formula must be found scanned and faxed in a matter of minutes is sweat-inducing edge-of-your-seat moviemaking and it provides the ultimate opportunity for Roberts and Owen to take the “con” to the next level. Another where Roberts uses a thong to try and trick Owen into admitting an affair he never had is also priceless and gets right to the heart of the game-playing.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
Never. Stock up during the coming attractions. If you miss a moment of this entertaining romp you might never figure it all out.
Top Story: "EW" Names Chris Rock Funniest Man in America
Comedian, actor and writer Chris Rock has been named the funniest man in America by Entertainment Weekly in the magazine's March 19 issue. Rock began performing in Manhattan comedy clubs as a teenager and by 1987 had made an early TV appearance on the HBO special Uptown Comedy Express--the same year the comedian made his feature film debut as a parking valet in Beverly Hills Cop II. But it was during his three-year stint on NBC's Saturday Night Live that people really took note. Rock, 39, is now on his Black Ambition Tour, which will culminate in his fourth HBO special set to air April 17. "Watching Rock in 2004--21 years into his comedy career--is like watching a great prize-fighter in peak condition," the magazine said. Also gracing the list of the 25 funniest Americans are Jon Stewart, Will Ferrell, Larry David, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Murray, Jim Carrey and Jack Black.
"Wardrobe Malfunction" Invades English Language
The Global Language Monitor, a group that analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on culture, declared "wardrobe malfunction" as Hollywood's Top Word or Phrase for Impact on the English language. The phrase became famous after Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's bustier during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show, revealing her right breast, later calling it a "wardrobe malfunction." Other words or phrases on the group's "HollyWord LingoList" include "Bootylicious," "extreme makeover," "Gigli" (as in "gigli bad"), "Give it up!" (replaces "please applaud for"), "Governator" (as in CAH-lee-FOR-nee-ah Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger), "snap" (from Freaky Friday, meaning very cool), and "Smiths" (to lack individuality, like the multi-duplicated agent Smith in The Matrix Reloaded).
Russell Crowe's Cinderella Man Gets Pushed Back
Universal Pictures has delayed the release of Russell Crowe's boxing drama Cinderella Man until Mar. 18, 2005, claiming it needs more time to mount a marketing campaign. The film was originally set for release on Dec. 17 of this year. Cinderella Man, which reunites Crowe with A Beautiful Mind director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer, had been considered a potential Oscar contender in the 2004 race, but now it will have to take aim at the 2005 contest instead. "Certainly, the May release of Gladiator and our experiences with Erin Brockovich and last year with Seabiscuit prove that there is no dedicated season for high-caliber films," a studio representative told The Hollywood Reporter of the fact that the project will be released in March rather than the fourth quarter preferred by Oscar fodder.
Sex Outfits Sell Like Hot Pants
Hundreds of size "2" women lined up outside the New York consignment shop Ina on Thursday to fight for castoff clothes from the trend-setting HBO series Sex and the City, which ended last month after a six-season run. Most of the items available were purchased by the show's costumers but never used. The priciest item was a black sequined Chanel minidress priced at $5,000, while a pair of red silk hot pants went for a mere $70, Reuters reports. But Carrie's beloved Manolo Blahnik stilettos were nowhere to be seen: Many of the show's signature outfits have already been claimed by cast members, while other pieces were auctioned by the cable network for the actresses' favorite charities.
Judge in Jackson Case Keeps Audiotapes Secret
On Thursday, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville kept sealed an audiotape that apparently contains defense interviews with Michael Jackson's accuser and his family, but allowed prosecutors to see videotapes he called "innocuous," The Associated Press reports. The judge said the audiotape, which is of an interview conducted early last year by an investigator for defense attorney Mark Geragos, could identify areas of defense strategy and should remain secret. Melville added, "the persons interviewed are equally available to the prosecution. Jackson pleaded innocent on Jan. 16 to seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. He's free on $3 million bail.
R. Kelly's Sex Photos Inadmissible in Court
A Florida judge ruled yesterday that sex photos were illegally seized from the Florida home of R. Kelly and cannot be used as evidence in his child pornography trial, Reuters reports. Prosecutors in central Florida charged the R&B singer with 12 counts of possessing child pornography in January 2003, based on digital photos that Polk County deputies said showed him engaged in sex acts with a girl under the age of 18. Kelly, whose first name is Robert, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which stem from a 26-minute videotape that allegedly depicted the singer in sex acts with a girl who police say was 14 at the time. Kelly has denied the charges and is out on bail awaiting trial.
Rodney Dangerfield Finally Gets Respect
Fox Television has secured rights to Rodney Dangerfield's upcoming HarperCollins autobiography, It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs, the AP reports. "I'm excited that Fox is making a movie on my life story, but I hope they do it soon! I'm 82 years old," the "No Respect" comic said in a statement Wednesday. "At my age, I'm looking for a one-night sit! I'm thrilled about finishing my first book. Now I'm going to read another one."
David Crosby Denounced Drug Use Prior to Arrest
Singer David Crosby, who was arrested March 7 in New York on marijuana and gun possession charges, told The Frederick News-Post February in an interview published yesterday that he was through with drugs. "I haven't been tempted by that stuff for 15 years. You get past it," said Crosby, who was to perform in Frederick, Md. today. "When I really got toasted towar
Organizers of the American Music Awards have named singer Janet Jackson as this year’s winner of the prestigious Award of Merit.
The award is given to artists in recognition of their outstanding contributions to musical entertainment.
Jackson will be given the award during the telecast of the 28th Annual American Music Awards on Monday at 8 p.m. PT on ABC.
Past recipients of the coveted award include Bing Crosby, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Gloria Estefan and others.
The televised event will be co-hosted by Britney Spears and LL Cool J and will feature performances by Toni Braxton, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Pink, Marilyn Manson, Aerosmith, Outkast, 3 Doors Down, Jessica Simpson and others.
CAN YOU SAY SARCASM: In the February issue of Elle magazine, newlywed Queen of Pop Madonna says that she worships teen pop queen Britney Spears.
The Material Mom reportedly wears a T-shirt with Spears’ photo on it to bed to be closer to her.
"[She] just bowls me over. I love Britney," Madonna says in the magazine.
Sure, we believe you, Mo.
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