Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Truth About Charlie (2002) Film Review
The Truth About Charlie
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Even if this wasn't a remake of Charade, it would be a mess. Charade was a bit of a mess, too, so where's the difference?
Mark Wahlberg has the charisma of a case of Corrs and doesn't stand a chance compared to the infinitely cool Mr Cary Grant. Thandie Newton, who looked so fit next to Tom Cruise in MI2, plays silly-girl-in-tricksy-situ well enough, but don't talk about her in the same breath as Audrey Hepburn.
Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia, The Silence Of The Lambs) is having fun with pastiche and a crate of red herrings. He manages to mangle the comedy/romance/thriller genre, because this is not his thing. Lightness of touch is having Newton slip on a wet pavement, or her throwaway line to the secret service agent (Tim Robbins), "You're quite sweet for a stars-and-bars company man."
The plot is smoke and mirrors. You don't know who is who, or what, or why. Wahlberg has about three names. Stephen Dillane, as Newton's late husband, has about five. There's a gang, rushing around Paris, looking for $6million that Dillane might, or might not, have stolen, implicating Newton. The French police are involved, except you start wondering whether they are genuine, or rival villains, pretending to be cops.
If you discard the plot because it gives you a headache trying to make sense of it and concentrate on the characters, what have you got? Wahlberg fancies Newton. She, for some inexplicable reason, quite fancies him. The gang members begin by being menacing, then they are funny, then they start dying and then they are irrelevant.
It may be important - you can never tell with Charlie - but it rains a lot in Paris.
Thrillers can be too clever for their own good. This one isn't clever, but it's too something for its own good. Messy?
Demme is treading on Grant's grave and he shouldn't. The great man was past his prime, it's true, when he made Charade, but, even so, the style lingers on. The Truth About Charlie has no style, which exposes the script as a load of old fish heads.
Who needs herring, when there's caviar at Audrey's?Reviewed on: 15 May 2003