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The Truth About Charlie

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com 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 Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

It takes chutzpah to revise the concept of Stanley Donen's comedy/mystery "Charade" (1963) yet versatile writer/director Jonathan Demme ("Married to the Mob," "Silence of the Lambs") doesn't disappoint. Set in Paris, the convoluted story revolves around lovely Regina Lampert (Thandie Newton) whose secretive art-dealer husband (Stephen Dillane) has been murdered, their apartment ransacked, and six million dollars in diamonds is missing. Who killed him? Why? And what's become of the missing fortune? Eager to help her are Joshua Peters (Mark Wahlberg), a flirtatious yet cryptic American she met in Martinique, and an ambiguous U.S. Embassy official (Tim Robbins), while a trio of her husband's former cohorts (Ted Levine, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Joon-Hoon Park) is in hot pursuit, along with the Police Commandant (Christine Boisson) who has more questions than answers. Duplicity and deceit abound here but not much comedy. That's been lost in this unconventional, oddball mixture of styles and genres - with a particular nod to Charles Aznavour and the melancholy complexity of the French New Wave of the '50s and '60s. On the other hand, the film is expertly crafted. Jonathan Demme is a visual stylist who pays meticulous attention to detail with Tak Fujimoto's splendid cinematography and Rachel Portman's eclectic musical score. Too bad, then, that the result seems less than the sum of its parts. While vacuous Mark Wahlberg hasn't a shred of Cary Grant's sophisticated, suave charm, petite Thandie Newton successfully evokes a fey, enchanting quality reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn. So, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Truth About Charlie" is a tantalizing 7, a tart, twisting re-make that still pales in comparison with the fun of the original.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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