182: Duplicity

Duplicity (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 125 minutes
Starring: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Tony Gilroy

I'm not a big fan of Julia Roberts. Okay. Got that off my chest. I guess she was past her prime when I got into movies...I've never seen Pretty Woman, nor do I want to and all that hoopla about Erin Brockovich made my stomach hurt. Big deal. But her last movie, Charlie Wilson's War, was a pleasant surprise, so maybe she's earning my trust. Thank god she was not in Ocean's Thirteen, otherwise it would've made an otherwise good movie something awful. Seriously, Ocean's Twelve was just appalling.

Okay, sidetracked. Sorry. And I was beginning to just give up on this movie after the first twenty minutes. Don't do it! This movie takes time to get through, granted, but the payoff at the end is certainly worth it. I was a huge fan of Michael Clayton a couple years back and Tony Gilroy has crafted another corporate thriller - albeit with more of a comedic flavor than MC (I love initializing movies now. Critics take note: this will make you feel even more elitist).

Clive Owen and Roberts play two ex-spies who fall for each other and end up pulling a con job on two of the biggest corporations on the planet. The movie starts out in the middle and goes back and forth between the past and the present. This sounds like a headache - and I was getting one - but if you stick through it, the puzzle pieces land in place quite nicely. Owen and Roberts are perfect for these roles - they both ooze charm and intellect and they play off each other well. I will admit I didn't see the ending coming because I was too focused on believing my own theory from the beginning of the movie.

But that's what made this movie great to me - the ending. It's a perfect payoff at the end - something that Lucky Number Slevin did so well a few years back. Gilroy does a nice job of making you look one way while he's working out the magic somewhere else. The evidence is all there, you just have to pay attention, and that's what makes these movies work so well.

Besides some great performances by the two leads, Giamatti and Wilkinson are perfect, too, as the corporate execs that are only out to ascend to the top and stay that way. Giamatti plays the schlub (what else would he play?) who's so paranoid of Wilkinson (the cool, calm bonsai tree-pruning mastermind), that he'll spend millions on trying to steal his ideas. It's a great rivalry and the movie starts off quite hilariously as they square off on the tarmac. I was waiting for Giamatti to bite off Wilkinson's ear! Oh well, you can only get away with so much in a PG-13 movie.

It's a good ride that does start off slow, but if you persevere, it's well worth the wait. It's out now, go rent it!

Rating: Rent It

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