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TRUST THE MAN

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Billy Crudup, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, Eva Mendes, James Le Gros
Director: Bart Freundlich
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 100 Minutes
Release Date: February 6, 2007

ďHave a little trust, Tobey. The world is not against you.Ē

Film **1/2

Certain films have such a way about them that you almost want to forgive it for all of its shortcomings. Trust the Man is such a film. Itís a most enjoyable romantic comedy about the trials and tribulations of two couples, but despite lively performances and some funny moments the film itself feels to sit-com like and plays off like a TV movie.

Writer-director Bart Freundlich (The Myth of Fingerprints) is no doubt paying homage to Woody Allen by setting his complicated love story in the Big Apple. The two couples in question are Tom and Rebecca (David Duchovny, Julianne Moore), who are married, and Tobey and Elaine (Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal) who have yet to even think of the day when they will say their vows. Both couples are going through something of a rough spot.

With Tom and Rebecca, the problem isnít really with the marriage. Itís going quite well, except for the fact that Rebecca is as sexually active as Tom is. As a result of this, Tom is tempted by a fling with the mother of one of his childrenís classmates.

The problem lying with in Tobey and Elaineís relationship is that she wants more from the relationship than he is willing to give. Elaine wants to marry and have a family, but Tobey is too satisfied with how things are at the moment. The problem only escalates when Tobey, too, is flirting with temptation in the form of Faith (Eva Mendes), an old college friend.

For the most part, I enjoyed the whimsical qualities of Trust the Man. I particularly enjoyed seeing David Duchovny in a light comic role since me and just about everyone in the world know him for the role of super-serious FBI agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files. A scene where he attends a meeting for sex addicts is a standout moment for him in terms of laughs.

But in addition to the sitcom qualities that I mentioned earlier, another element not helping the film is simply that of bad timing. Though it came to to theaters first, the movie is completely inferior to The Last Kiss, which is really one of the best films youíll see about flawed relationships. That film dealt on a more honest level, while Trust the Man doesnít take as many chances and seems to be going through the motions.

Though I give credit to the film for being slightly enjoyable, Trust the Man is very much a mixed bag. The performances are very good and there are many laughs, but there isnít a whole lot of originality and the film, itself, feels all too familiar.

Video ***1/2

The anamorphic presentation (Full Screen version also included) is a most exceptional picture quality. Image is that of a clear and ultra-crisp picture, given a slight instance of grain but nothing distracting at all. Colors are terrifically natural, in addition.

Audio **1/2

The 5.1 mix is a good one, but being this is solely a dialogue-oriented film the sound quality is given just about one thing to deliver perfectly. Dialogue is delivered in top notch clarity and thereís a nice music cue here and there, but other than that you wonít find much to shout about in terms of dynamic sound. Delivers on what it can deliver, basically.

Features **1/2

Included on this disc is a lively and funny commentary track with writer/director Bart Freundlich and David Duchovny, which is both informative and frequently funny. Also featured are Deleted Scenes with optional commentary, a featurette titled ďReel LoveĒ and bonus previews for additional Fox titles.

Summary:

Though I give it points for trying and being occasionally amusing, Trust the Man canít seem to escape itís all too familiar feel. For me, Iím sort of mixed but it just might work for the romantic comedy junkies. 

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