Duets

*

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The only reason Gwyneth Paltrow would have agreed to play the emotionally underdeveloped daughter of a Las Vegas showgirl in an ensemble road movie concerning Karaoke competitions is that her dad directed it. Her role is fleeting, shallow and without merit. Her singing voice, if it is her's, has definite promise.

The plot swithers this way and that between a selection of dysfunctional lost souls, from the salesman (Paul Giamatti) with a mid-life crisis to the escaped convict (Andre Braugher) with a gun in his pocket to the waitress (Maria Bello) who will perform sexual favours for the advancement of her singing career to the cuckolded young taxi driver (Scott Speedman) who is too wet to say no. The only guy who is seriously hustling is Paltrow's screen father (Huey Lewis). He travels the circuit, pretending to be an ordinary joe, and then cleans up on bets and prizes because he has a great rock-and-roll voice.

The father/daughter hook is a non starter. He left before she was born and doesn't really want to be reunited now. Duets is so heavy on the soul, it causes physical pain. Lewis should get back with The News and stop thinking he can act. Bello performs like a star - she was the boss of the girls in Coyote Ugly - and has the kind of part that makes no sense whatsoever. Speedman looks dazed and Giamatti overacts shamelessly.

Braugher is the only one who appears to have a semblance of dignity. Also, he can sing like Otis Redding. As for Gwyneth, she should know that family and business do not go together. For someone who has won an Oscar, this is worse than slumming. It makes her look stupid.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Ensemble road movie sees Gwyneth (and others) compete at karaoke.
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Director: Bruce Paltrow

Writer: John Byrum

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Huey Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Andre Braugher, Maria Bello, Scott Speedman

Year: 2000

Runtime: 114 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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