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