Two Girls And A Guy Review

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Playing more like a European menage a trois than Hollywood love triangle, this movie intrigues and disappoints in equal measure. Featuring some sharp dialogue and strong playing, it is deflated by shallow characterisation, inflexibility of mood and an overriding sense of the implausible.

The conceit is potentially mouth-watering: two women - Carla (Graham) and Lou (Wagner) - meet when waiting for their respective boyfriends, but it transpires that both are waiting for the same man, fast-talking Blake (Downey Jr.). Rather than catfighting Jerry Springer style, the two band together, break into his loft with the idea of forcing Blake to admit, confront and explain his infidelities.

What starts as a delicious game of emotional/psychological cat and mouse eventually lapses into talky navel gazing without any real sense of purpose. Mistaking profanity for raw honesty, the threesome mull over all the touchstones that underpin modern relationships - committment, fidelity, promiscuity, duplicity, permanence - without ever adding anything fresh to the mix. Perhaps worse, Toback never makes you feel for the protagonists' emotional predicaments.

Blake's dizzying verbal dexterity gives Downey Jr. lots of scope for entertaining showboating yet he never really illuminates his character's neuroses; Wagner is likeable as the streetwise Lou but Graham excels, rounding out her underwritten role with fierce intelligence and vulnerability. Through imaginative lighting and staging, Toback achieves interesting visual diversity out of the single set locale but the film gets bogged down in its own verbosity and ultimately never transcends the stage play feel dictated to by its premise.