Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Truth About Charlie

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Brief nudity, adultery
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters drink and smoke, character gets drunk to deal with stress
Violence/Scariness:Intense violence and peril, dead bodies
Diversity Issues:Inter-racial romance, strong black woman characters
Movie Release Date:2002

I can’t figure out how a studio decided to take “Charade,” one of the world’s most delectable movies, and remake it without a single one of the ingredients that made it great. The dreamy theme song by Henry Mancini is gone, except for a dozen brief, quiet bars almost lost amidst the screeching, thumping soundtrack. The witty dialogue is gone, except for a couple of quips. They left out one of the best last lines in the history of movies. But, worst of all, the star power is gone, too. This movie has some attractive and talented actors. But I think I can state without fear of contradiction that Mark Wahlberg is no Cary Grant. And he should stay away from berets.

If we were to erase every memory of the original, this movie would simply be a pedestrian and mildly weird standard romantic thriller, below average but not unwatchable. Thandie Newton plays Regina Lampert, a British woman living in Paris. Three months earlier she impulsively married a wealthy Swiss art dealer but has resolved to get a divorce because she feels it was a mistake. Before she can tell him, she arrives home to find their apartment empty and gutted. He liquidated everything they had and left without leaving a message. She learns that he has been killed. And then she learns that he was not Swiss and not an art dealer. He had stolen some money while on a military operation for the United States. The money has disappeared, and the people he first stole it with and then stole it from want it back. And so does the U.S. Government.

Josh Peters (Wahlberg) arrives just as she is feeling like a damsel in distress and he befriends her. At first, she relies on him, but then she finds out that he has not been honest with her, so she has to use her own judgment and courage to decide who to trust and to solve the mystery.

Director Jonathan Demme undercuts the suspense with clumsy exposition and poorly handled characterization. Wahlberg looks puffy and unhappy and has no chemistry with Newton. And there are some surreal moments (possibly tributes to the French New Wave films of the 1960’s) that do not work at all. Josh plays a CD by French legend Charles Aznavour for Regina and all of a sudden, Aznavour is in the room, singing. A strange nightclub scene brings all of the characters together in a mad tango. The credit sequence also takes some of the characters in a playful direction that has no connection to the mood of the rest of the movie.

Parents should know that the movie includes nudity, an adulterous sexual situation, extreme peril and violence, strong language, and drinking and smoking. There is an off-camera but vivid search of a dead body. Regina responds to the stress of having to identify her late husband and being questioned by the police by getting drunk.

Families who see this movie should talk about how Regina decides whom to trust.

All fans of mystery and romance should see the classic “Charade” with Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and Walter Matthau, and, if possible, they should also watch the DVD with delightfully witty commentary by the director and screenwriter. Families will also enjoy the companion movie, “Arabesque,” with Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren.



Previous Posts

Trailer: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
[iframe src="http://www.movieweb.com/v/VI0Fjch2c6ld24/embed_video" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0"] I'm very excited about the next Avengers movie, coming out next spring, and it's a great trailer with the bleak images, random ballerinas, and creepy re-do of the classic song from "Pinocc

posted 8:38:38am Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Interviews: "Art and Craft's" Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman
The documentary "Art and Craft" is the extraordinary story of two men.  One is Mark Landis, an artist who created counterfeit paintings and then disguised himself as various philanthropist perso

posted 8:00:06am Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Is This the End of Television?
Last week both cable giant HBO and broadcast giant CBS made announcements that signal the end of television as we know it.  Both responded to the clear message of the market and said that they would make their content available in the form and via the delivery system consumers prefer -- the interne

posted 3:24:08pm Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Dylan Baker on Directing for the First Time in the Fact-Based High School Football Movie "23 Blast"
Dylan Baker is probably best remembered for playing some of the most horrific villains imaginable ("The Good Wife," "Happiness").  But his extensive career has included wild comedies ("Planes, Trai

posted 8:00:11am Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Best Movies About Writers
Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It's always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty and eloquent. Movies are written by writers, so they have some insight and appreciatio

posted 3:37:07pm Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.