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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Trust the Man

    Trust the Man, a superficially promising film, is just that: superficial. While it boasts a impressively talented lead cast in David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, and Maggie Gyllenhal, the script unfortunately does not do justice to their acting capabilities.

    The story surrounds two long-term couples, one married and one not. Tom (Duchovny) and Rebecca (Moore) are a husband and wife who find themselves at a crossroads when Tom, frustrated by the lack of sex in the marriage, gives in to his urges and has an affair with the mother of his son’s classmate. Tobey (Crudup), Rebecca’s younger brother and Tom’s best friend, has been dating Elaine (Gyllenhal) for seven years. Elaine, who is also conveniently best friends with Rebecca, becomes fed up with Tobey’s lack of interest in getting married and having children. Ultimately, she breaks up with Tobey so that she can search for a man who will help her fulfill her goals.

    Set in New York, this romantic comedy lacks the independent spirit that is often found in New York comedies (ones that are filmed on location, not shot on a sound stage); for instance, movies in the vein of Woody Allen in which the city breathes life into the characters. Instead, it consistently resorts to typical Hollywood banalities that take away from the humor that occasionally redeems certain scenarios.

    It is too bad that the characters are not so consistent. Both relationships in the film ultimately are not believable. The actions and (I use the term loosely) ‘feelings’ of the men are so juvenile that they earn no sympathy. At the same time, the women behave so sporadically that I wondered why even such one-dimensional man-boys would waste their time.

    A third would-be important relationship that further skews how the characters are presented is the one between Tobey and Rebecca. They are siblings who have a deep love and ultimate respect for each other; however, this relationship is completely undermined by the crass way in which Tobey discusses Rebecca’s sex-life with Tom. Another troubling aspect of the film is the way, as I mentioned before, that men and women are portrayed.

    Forgive my feminine bias, but the film was clearly written from a male perspective, one that views women as nothing more than ticking PMS-time bombs. In addition, Tom and Tobey speak to each other and the women in their lives like pubescent teenage boys. I understand that romantic comedies have trademarked the male and female stereotypes, but the characters in this film are difficult to relate to and sometimes borderline offensive.

    The one redeeming aspect of Trust the Man was the strong and sincere performances despite the insincere story. If there was any heart to be found in the characters, it was a direct result of the efforts made by the actors. Any joke that was pulled off (and I’ll admit, there were a few), was only slightly because of the script and more so because the players acted with an earnest intent to entertain. Where the writing failed, the actors managed to succeed; sadly, even this wasn’t enough to save the film.

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