Julianne Moore and David Duchovny in Trust the Man.
Since Woody Allen seems to have temporarily abandoned Manhattan for London, writer-director Bart Freundlich attempts to step into the void with Trust the Man, a movie about a group of Manhattanites dealing with love, sex and a sense of their own immortality. While the cast is good and there are quite a few amusing moments, the end result, hampered in part by an over the top ending, is an unstable movie that manages to entertain but never wow you.
The story centers around two couples. Rebecca, an actress preparing for an upcoming play, is married to Tom, a former ad-copywriter who now stays at home to raise his and Rebecca's children. Their marriage seems happy except for their troubles in the bedroom. Rebecca continually refuses to have sex with Tom and yet somehow seems surprised later when he goes outside the marriage to have some.
Tobey is Rebecca's brother and Tom's best friend. He's dating Elaine, who is Rebecca's best friend. Elaine is looking to settle down and start a family, while Tobey is way too obsessed with death and his ex-girlfriend to do anything about it.
After both relationships founder, it is up to the men to rebuild them, since, as in seemingly every love story ever produced by Hollywood, it is the men who are apparently in the wrong. One interesting side story that is never fully explored is the relationship between Rebecca and her younger co-star. He has a crush on her and in a few scenes the movie implies that she has reciprocated something, but it's never spelled out and Tom is the only who seems to have anything to apologize for.
The best moments are the comedic ones. Tom's trip to a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting is fairly amusing, although if wanting to have sex with your wife and occasionally looking at porn makes you a sex addict, there would be a lot more people in therapy than there are now.
While most of the story if fairly well grounded in reality, the ending is pure Hollywood. Without giving away the specifics, both relationships are mended in the theater at Lincoln Center in full view of the audience in a farcical and over the top manner that could only happen in a movie.
Like many a Woody Allen movie, Manhattan landmarks are featured throughout the story, from the Village to the Upper West Side. I always enjoy seeing the city in movies, especially when it actually is the city and not Toronto, but in this case it isn't really anything more than eye-candy.
Far from perfect but still somewhat enjoyable, I suppose until Woody returns to making movies here, we'll have to settle for what we can get.
Photos © Copyright Fox Searchlight (2006)