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Casting can’t save Trust

<p>Trust the Man is director Bart Freundlich’s attempt at a New York dramedy, along the lines of mid-period Woody Allen, circling two reasonably well-off couples and observing their wacky misadventures.</p>


From left, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore and David Duchovny in Trust The Man.



Trust The Man

Director: Bart Freundlich

Stars: David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup

Rating: 14A

** (out of five)


Trust the Man is director Bart Freundlich’s attempt at a New York dramedy, along the lines of mid-period Woody Allen, circling two reasonably well-off couples and observing their wacky misadventures.


David Duchovny and Julianne Moore are the older pair, a long-married couple with three kids; Billy Crudup and Maggie Gyllenhaal are the younger couple, having been together seven years without ever really discussing the idea of settling down.


(Well, she has, and he keeps changing the subject.)


It’s excellent casting, not just between the couples but also in the pairing of Duchovny and Crudup as brothers-in-law who’ve evolved into the best of friends. The two of them have a great rapport, even though they’re playing immature idiots; Duchovny’s crinkly confidence somehow feeds Crudup’s unrestrained energy, and makes it entirely possible that these two guys would have grown closer to each other than they have to their respective beloveds.


Although he’s created four fully developed characters, Freundlich doesn’t have the slightest idea what to do with them, sending them off down a series of dead ends — weirdly uncomfortable jokes built around sex addicts and thuggish club promoters, lazy satires of Manhattan theatre culture, and a running gag about Crudup’s obsession with his car that goes absolutely, insistently, nowhere.


 
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