Directed by Tony Gilroy.
Written by Tony Gilroy.
Starring Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson and Paul
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 3/16/09
"Duplicity" reminds me of...Tony Gilroy's
"Michael Clayton." It is very well shot, very
slick--sleek, even--with sharp-looking leads, some laughs, a good
ending and a story that hops around a bit. A leg up would be
the soundtrack for "Duplicity"; very hip, very "Ocean's ____", very
lounge-ish. A strike against "Duplicity" would be the very,
very chatty screenplay. There's a lot of talking in this
movie, most of it meant to throw you off while occasionally making
the whole proceeding feel "important."
The net effect is a nice ride at the
theater, this spring's romantic comedy version of
already forgetting that it happened (in part because I saw it for
free), but even I have to admit--that Clive Owen is a sexy MF.
The executive summary version of the plot is
that a former British spy (Owen) and a former CIA agent (Julia
Roberts) team up to make millions by working on the inside of two
Proctor & Gamble-like firms as competitive intelligence analysts.
Double-crosses ensue. Over the course of two hours, we also
get to learn how these two lovers came to be, and how they decided
to work the angles to retire with the big payday.
As I mentioned above, the film will mainly
be reviewed by others as being very, very slick. The
sets are slick, the outfits are slick, the hotel rooms are slick,
Owen is slick, Roberts is slick, the music is slick. For most
people, it won't really matter that "Duplicity" can be boiled down
to not-that-much, because the thing is so fucking slick. Sure,
I still don't think that Roberts is attractive, but as a straight
man I have to give it to Owen--the dude looks good in a suit and
he's in a suit for almost the entire film. (Meg, of course,
thinks the Owen dude has got it in spades.) "Duplicity" has a
few good laughs mixed in with talk of being crossed by other spies,
and I liked the Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson performances as the
two CEOs bent on one-upping each other at every turn.
I'm still not sure how I feel about the
chemistry of our two leads, but at least it never feels fake when
it's supposed to be genuine...there is some spark, and their
give-and-take is generally good. Meg thought it was good as
well, but not the best...I would say that I never got the feeling
that I could be sold on this twosome in real life, but everything
Seriously, though, "Duplicity" is fine.
It's good, even. I didn't think it was great, but it is
entertaining, and as rom-com movies go, men will have to suffer
through MUCH, much worse than this in '09. (Sandra Bullock in
"The Proposal", anyone??)
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard