Release Date: August 18th, 2006 by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
The Cast: Billy Crudup, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, Eva Mendes, James Le Gros, Garry Shandling, Ellen Barkin, Bob Balaban, Dagmara Dominczyk.
Directed by Bart Freundlich.
BASIC PREMISE: Rebecca (Moore) and Tom (Duchovny) try to keep their marriage alive while Rebecca’s brother, Tobey (Crudup), struggles to keep his long-term friendship alive with his girlfriend, Elaine (Gyllenhaal).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Trust the Man uses up all of the clichés in the romantic comedy genre, but at least it’s mildly amusing thanks to the terrific, lively cast. The plot basically revolves around two couples, one in their 30’s and the other middle-aged, that go through rough patches in their relationships. Just when toilet humor has become quite popular in teen movies these days, guess what the opening scene in this adult comedy includes? Fart humor. At least you get it over with early on. Tom and his wife Rebecca go to a marriage counselor played briefly by Garry Shandling. Rebecca claims that Tom is a sex maniac while Tom claims that he’s not getting sex which affects their marriage. Rebecca’s sister Elaine has problems with Tobey whom she has been dating for eight years. She wants to settle down and to finally start a family with him, but he’s simply too indolent and immature. Both couples have dinner and laugh together. Tom and Tobey, predictably, get tempted to cheat on their loved ones with other women: Tom with a single mother (Domincyk) and Tobey with his beautiful friend, Faith (Mendes). Writer/director Bart Freundlich includes some attempts at humorous dialogue, but it mostly falls flat—which isn’t because he’s not Woody Allen or Richard Curtis but because the comedy feels too forced. Is it really that funny for Rebecca to choke on cake? In one excruciating scene, Tom jokes that he comes from a poor family of immigrants to his sex addicts group and then they all laugh as it if were funny. You don’t want to know what he makes up about his sex life to the group…you’ll never want to eat a salami sandwich again. On a positive note, Ellen Barkin and Bob Balaban have somewhat funny, unexpected cameos. Even some of the dramatic scenes feel contrived and awkward with stilted dialogue, especially in the over-the-top third act. Nonetheless, the stellar cast shines and help to enliven and add a little charm to this bland, forgettable romantic comedy. At least it’s not as horrendous as Laws of Attraction, another so-called romantic comedy with Julianne Moore.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Often contrived, unfunny and awkward.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 6
IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly entertaining with a stellar cast, but often bland, contrived and forgettable.
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