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The Truth About Charlie

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Truth About Charlie

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Thandie Newton
Director: Jonathan Demme
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Suspense

*Also starring: Tim Robbins, Christine Boisson, Jim Brooks, Ted Levine, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Stephen Dillane

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

I'll tell you THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE. The truth is that this Jonathan Demme remake of CHARADE from 1963, which starred Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, is bad, very bad.

What happened to Demme's magic touch, and what is it with this ridiculous casting that never works, even for a minute? Mark Wahlberg is no Cary Grant, not even close, and Thandie Newton is certainly no Audrey Hepburn. Demme doesn't even get a decent performance out of Wahlberg, who was infinitely better in ROCK STAR.

The plot has Regina Lambert (Thandie Newton) discovering that Charlie (Stephen Dillane), her husband of three months, is not only dead but was a man of many names. Charlie left her six million dollars. She just doesn't know where it is. Joshua Peters (Mark Wahlberg) is one of many men and women who come along to "help" her. Mr. Bartholomew (Tim Robbins) is another. Most of the characters use assumed and changing names and identities. It's all very confusing, but you won't care.

Highly acclaimed cinematographer Tak Fujimoto uses the shaky-cam approach to the filming, making his usually impeccable work look like something from a film school student -- pure amateur, which is also how Demme's awkward direction comes across. CHARADE was full of wit, but Demme's version is absolutely charmless. It is like a lame TV remake of an old movie. Never is the director able to draw us into the story. Filled with one slack moment after another, it becomes so awful that it's hard to stay awake.

Always looking hard to find something good about every film, I was able to find exactly one in THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE. There is a tango number in which the characters are forced to switch partners. I thought it was cute. I asked my wife if she found anything to like about the movie, but she didn't. I proceeded to ask her about the dance number. She said that she slept through it. I can understand that. I wish I had been able to sleep through the entire picture.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE runs 1:40. It is rated PG-13 for "some violence and sexual content/nudity" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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