Confidence is such an eagerly cliche film that at first it comes across as playful. There's a flimsy justification for its cheesy gumshoe narration, it's got the look down well, and one gets the impression that it just might be able to pull this thing off. Sadly, things don't quite go according to plan. Bouncing around in time, telling the story of a planned multi-million dollar scam and the assorted double-crossing characters involved in its execution, it's all charming smiles and no substance.

The dirty deed itself could be covered in twenty minutes. What's left to pad it out is an array of supposedly funny vignettes - which aren't - and character pieces - which are difficult to support when only two of the characters have any depth and none of them undergo any development.

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Rachel Weisz tries valiantly to make it all mean something. She's at her best for some time, and things are usually interesting while she's around. Dustin Hoffman also works hard to make his character into a real person, though he's been saddled with a schtick that the writers don't really understand, going for cheap laughs when they should be making people edgy, and the combination flounders. He still comes across as more intelligent than anybody else, which is still more problematic, since toward the end he's required to do a really stupid thing which one can't seriously imagine anybody with his experience falling for. This is one of several unlikely pieces of behaviour that the plot hinges on, pretending they were predictable. The lack of chemistry between the leads is similarly unfortunate.

Confidence is overconfident. Following the cliches, it does everything by the book, and it does seem as if it ought to work, but it's just not very interesting. It's hard to care about anyone but Weisz' character, and that's not sufficient to hold one's attention throughout. The direction and technical work are good enough and none of the dialogue is too awful, it just lacks sparkle; we've seen this too many times before. TV-movie style twists don't explain why this project made it to the big screen. "It's all about confidence." they say. Sorry, dears: it's about talent, too. Now run along.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2007
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Confidence trickery in LA, featuring a gang of smarty pants versus a very odd Dustin Hoffman.
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Angus Wolfe Murray ***

Director: James Foley

Writer: Doug Jung

Starring: Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman, Andy Garcia, Morris Chestnut, Leland Oser, Louis Lombardi, Paul Giamatti, Brian Van Holt, Donal Logue, Luis Guzman

Year: 2003

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US/Canada/Germany


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