Trust The Man

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Tom (Duchovny) and Rebecca (Moore) are suffering the doldrums of an ostensibly stable but sexless marriage; Rebecca’s brother Tobey (Crudup) and girlfriend Elaine (Gyllenhaal) are facing his commitment phobia and her desire to settle down. As their situat


Over the last decade, Bart Freundlich has quietly been carving out a niche for whimsical dramas produced with almost a repertory-theatre-company feel — past alumni include Noah Wyle, Blythe Danner and, returning here, Julianne Moore (Freundlich’s wife) and Billy Crudup. While few of his films have made a box-office splash, Trust The Man sees Freundlich crank up the wry observations to create more broadly comic strokes, and in so doing has created his most accessible and entertaining movie so far.

The story, about the relationship woes of four close friends, is simple, if nothing new, and there are niggles. The four lead characters are in truth shockingly — even irritatingly — self-absorbed, and those of a more cynical bent will find the sappy ending dangerously close to trite. Yet while the theme of philandering males letting down demanding females is borderline threadbare, Freundlich’s retread gleans new colour thanks to his sparkling dialogue, the urbane New York setting and great work from his superior cast, all of whom flesh out their roles so that empathy with their respective plights comes easily. David Duchovny in particular is a stand-out, leaving you wondering why he isn’t seen more often on the big screen.

Freundlich’s intelligent, very funny take on male-female relationships manages the not inconsiderable feat of being both jaded and appealingly fresh.