Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Let’s go for a ride! And what better way to ride than by following Clive Owen and Julia Roberts?? For those of you who think you don’t like Clive Owen, stop reading now, close the site, and never return. For those of you who think you don’t like Julia Roberts…I get it. But stick with her here. She’s all grown up now, not just a gorgeous toothy gal with great cheekbones.
This sparkling duo has some serious chemistry. It’s nice to see Jules play off a man who doesn’t seem overpowered by her (Jude Law in Closer, anyone? Puh-lease, she’d eat him alive), and Clive (also Closer, where he DID eat poor little Law alive) has the chops. In that mostly soggy film, he managed to make Ms Roberts look small and helpless. In Duplicity, he turns her into an animal.
This is a caper, one of my very favorite film genres. Think fast-paced dialogue, intrigue, and steamy off screen sex. Think Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn (Bringing up Baby, BEST), or…Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell (His Girl Friday, SO GREAT), and Barbara Stanwyck (The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire). But here, our caper is jet-set, the intrigue is multi-national, and some of the dialogue would make a lady blush. But not too pink, since it’s PG-13, but still manages to be pretty great. How does that happen???
The plot centers on a product in the works by a major toiletries company, and the race with their rival company to showcase it. The opening credits contain a hilarious slow-motion rain-soaked throwdown between the rival CEOs, played with full gonzo effect by Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson.
Our lead characters, Ray and Claire, have a cute first meeting with an unfortunate end, and over the course of the movie, they will meet in a similar fashion several more times. But we quickly grock that they’re working together…or are they? See, at first meeting, she’s in the CIA and he’s deep in MI-6, so they’ve both been trained to assume they’re being played. But that’s where the snappy dialogue comes in, see? Because in the present, they’re both retired and working security at the opposing firms. With a slight caveat, being that they’re on the same side…or are they????
Even the supporting cast is super. There’s even a little True Blood reunion! Denis O’Hare, the Vampire King of Mississippi, runs Ray’s crew of wily geeks, and Carrie Preston, Arlene on the show, plays Barbara Bofferd, a hapless target of Ray’s. Giamatti, as per always, devours the screen, but he’s allowed, it’s that kind of movie.
This film is perfectly delightful. We get to look at Clive Owen (shirt open, no tie, bam!) for two hours, we get to look at Julia Roberts and her bizarre football player-looking manner of walking for two hours, we get to wake up in Rome, Dubai, and London, and spend a lot of time in New York. And we get to have a rollicking good time doing all of it. What’s better than that??