Trust the Man Review

Sep 01, 2006 | 5:00am EDT

Of course it’s hard to maintain a healthy relationship but for these two New York couples it’s downright painful. First there’s Rebecca (Julianne Moore) and Tom (David Duchovny) a long-married couple with two young kids. Rebecca a successful actress doesn’t like to have sex nearly as much as her Mr. Mom husband so they fight about it. Eventually Tom has an affair with a mom from his kid’s school. Natch. Then there’s Tobey (Billy Crudup) Rebecca’s younger slacker brother and Tom’s best friend who has been in a relationship with Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal) for eight years but can’t commit to the whole marriage/baby thing. Eventually Elaine dumps him. Double natch. Can these crazy kids get it together in time to reunite and make kissy face? Hmmm. Trust the Man probably looked good on paper with juicy speeches and witty repartee—well at least seemingly witty. I say give me a script filled with “Then a car chase ensues” or “then they have crazy sex all over the room.” But of course that isn’t the kind of movie serious ACT-TORS are interested in is it? Moore doesn’t really have a choice but star in Trust since her hubby Bart Freundlich wrote and directed it; her participation is a given and she makes the most of it. The very capable Duchovny Crudup and Gyllenhaal also present a strong front as they each deliver their own moments of inspired brilliance. Crudup is particularly convincing as a crass city dweller too wrapped up in his own neurosis to notice the love of his life getting away. It’s apparent Freundlich is looking to emulate the classic Woody Allen film of yesteryear but in no way does he even come close. Allen is still the master of writing hilarious poignant scripts about the lives and loves of New Yorkers. To his credit however  Freundlich does makes some heartfelt attempts at showing the numerous pitfalls of being in a relationship. The climactic ending in which Tom and Tobey try desperately to get their significant others’ attention at the opening of Rebecca’s new play is funny and moving at the same time. And obviously with his real-life wife involved some authenticity is added to the proceedings. But honestly Trust the Man describing the whole New York milieu is almost too insular. It could have just as easily been plopped on a stage where the actors could receive their just applause from their fellow Manhattanites after a particularly long-winded scene.

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