A review of “Trust the Man” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: **

Rating: R for language and sexual content

Run Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes



No one doubts Julianne Moore’s ability to wallop a thespian punch but with director husband Bart Freundlich at the helm she’s batting 0 for 3.

“Trust the Man” is the kind of cloying indie that’s too precocious for its own good. Beautiful people living beautifully flawed lives fraught with issues revolving around love, marriage and commitment. Sigh.

The two couples in question are hip urban New Yorkers, generally the worst offenders. Tom and Rebecca (David Duchovny and Moore) are struggling with their sexless marriage and working through dual career crises; hers a move to Broadway from film and his from the workplace into the reluctant role of house husband.

Across town lives another modern relationship, this one starring a charming commitment-phobe named Tobey (Billy Crudup), doubling as Rebecca’s brother and Tom’s best bud, and winsome businesswoman Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who just wants to get on with the business of marriage and babies.

Tobey is an overgrown teenager with a checking account – what has Elaine seen in him for eight long years of putting off the inevitable? Tom’s checking out porn sites and coming on to pre-school moms when he should be picking up after the kids. Petty arguments ensue while all wallow in the grainy grey area between frustration and satisfaction.

I’m tired of the search for love in the midst of a metropolitan melting pot of family, friends and infidelity. Immensely flawed human beings who just can’t get their proverbial act together are so five minutes ago. Rarely does the relationship roundelay result in rewarding laughs or drama, fulfilling fare like “We Don’t Live Here Anymore” or “Friends with Money”.

Freundlich doesn’t get it right, packing his script with real moments punctuated by shiny clichés and climaxing with a public finale that screams contrived.

On the upside, Gyllenhaal and Crudup do not disappoint. She’s wise and wacky and warm and he has a comic flair heretofore unrecognized. Duchovny needs another good TV series – he plays better on the small screen – and Moore seems terribly self-conscious when under the direction of her significant other.

Chalk it up to the cinematic doldrums of summer and raise the curtain on fall!