Saturday, September 19, 2009

Under 250: Duplicity

Julia Roberts is sort of like the female version of Tom Cruise. Her star power is undeniable at this point, but for the most part the characters she chooses to play are just different versions of the same character: Julia Roberts. Don't get me wrong, she's pretty good at it, and every once in awhile she falls into a role that amplifies just the right aspects (Erin Brockovich, for one). Duplicity isn't a exactly one of those roles, it's more of an Ocean's rehashing, but it's a fair diversion as things go. Roberts stars as an ex-CIA agent involved in a high-stakes corporate espionage game alongside the rogueishly appealing Clive Owen. The film is slick, heavy in traditional caper style, equally heavy (too heavy) in plot. The story is so intricate and twisty, it becomes difficult to parce out the details that matter from the ham-handed romantic backplot. Who's conning who turns into a question of how long can whoever's holding the strings can keep adding layer upon layer to confuse and exhaust the audience. About 3/4 of the way in, I couldn't tell if I was anxiously awaiting the big reveal, or fidgeting because I just wanted it to be over. Ultimately, the turns manage to be unexpected, but underwhelming. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but it's not deserving of a panning either. Basically, this is a mediocre movie with a limited shelf life, fun while it lasts but not lasting fun...if you know what i mean. Do you?

3 out of 5.

Duplicity, dir. Tony Gilroy, Starring: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti. Rated PG-13, Running Time: 125 min.

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