Reviews since 1993: A-E F-N O-Z Posters Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do Search the Site
Now in Release
DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
IN SHORT: Painful, just like Truth. One of the worst of the year. [Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content/nudity.]
For those of you that remember 1963's Charade, which starred Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant, keep your memories and stay away.
For those of you that don't, and the policy of this site is not to make comparisons to Source Material (so we won't mention Charade again.), for everybody's sake keep your money in your pocket and your feet in motion as you pass whatever poor theater owner begs you into buying a ticket for the utter and complete disaster showing on his or her big screen.
While her husband allegedly romps over Europe making big business deals, the lovely Regina Lambert (Thandie Newton) meets Joshua Peters (Mark Wahlberg) on a beach in Martinique. We already know that her husband Charles (Stephen Dillane) has been making whoopee with a stewardess on his train and has met his maker at the hands of some nefarious bad guy -- the actual murder "event is so badly edited that it looks like a mistake. In his desire to set up a revelatory flashback at the end of his film, director Jonathan Demme (yeah, the same guy who directed The Silence of the Lambs and knows a bit about the genre) breaks any building connection between the audience and the events on screen. The Truth About Charlie spirals into oblivion quickly after that.
Returning to Paris, Regina discovers that a) her apartment has been ransacked and b) her husband has been murdered. While Police Commandant Dominique (Christine Boisson) works on the case Regina is contacted by Lewis Bartholomew (Tim Robbins) a super secret US Agency, something called the ODP, and informed that her husband had another profession. Undercover agent and thief of millions of dollars in diamonds that the US gov wants back.
We're not the only ones. Regina is stalked by a quartet of villains (Il-Sang Lee, Joong Hoon Park, Ted Levine and Lisa Gay Hamilton) and soon, once again and very conveniently, crosses paths with young master Joshua, who then hangs on Regina's every move like barnacles on the side of a ship. A romantic relationship is supposed to develop over the course of the film but nothing in the story makes us believe it. There is no chemistry of any kind between Wahlberg and Newton and the latter's dead-on duplication of Audrey Hepburn's accent (yeah... yeah...) is annoying as hell.
And, guess what? Joshua Peters isn't his real name! In fact, the man carries as many ID's as deadboy Charlie. And Regina doesn't know if she can trust him! And there are the bad guys chasing, chasing, always chasing her! And Joshua is always there to save her! But, is he a good guy or a bad guy?
Demme drops in many shots of Paris' places of sub-interest, the sleazy side, and as many shots of the people in Paris. Why he decided to throw all knowledge of how to build a suspenseful story out the window is quite beyond us. Maybe it's the script -- four credited hands mashed the original story (then about a stolen payroll) into pulp. Maybe it's the production design which can't decide if this film is set in the 60s, 70s or 00s. Maybe its those extra shots by Demme.
Maybe you shouldn't bother.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Truth About Charlie, he would have paid . . .
Now we're going to have to see Swept Away, if only to discover which one is worse.
The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995 - 2017 by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, ™ their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award™(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.