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Where the Truth Lies

Genre: Drama
Rated: NC-17
Directed by
: Atom Egoyan
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman, Rachel Blanchard
Released by: ThinkFilm, Inc.

In Short: A sex-filled murder mystery spanning fifteen years isn't quite puzzling enough, despite Kevin Bacon's compelling performance.

Finding the Sexy Truth
Who Dunnit? Who Cares?
By Jenny Peters

Put two famous male entertainers together with two sensuous females and watch the sparks fly. That's writer-director Atom Egoyan's take on Rupert Holmes' multilayered novel Where the Truth Lies. Unfortunately, his massive changes in the time-spanning mystery take the guts out of the story and turn it into a slowly plodding tale that never quite gets off the ground.

The film begins in the late Fifties, as famed entertainers (think Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis) Vince Collins and Lanny Morris start a live telethon to raise money for polio victims. It's a good thing that the two, played by Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon, are on television in front of millions of viewers, for a gorgeous woman (Rachel Blanchard) is found dead in their hotel suite. So whodunit? The two stars are never charged, but like Martin and Lewis in real life, they split up right after and never work together again.

Cut to the Seventies, when Karen O’Conner, an ambitious young journalist played by pretty Alison Lohman, enters both men's lives and tries to uncover the truth behind that long-ago death. Egoyan moves back and forth between the two eras, a somewhat jarring technique, considering that Bacon and Firth each look exactly the same, despite a decade and a half having supposedly passed. Then, there are the assorted voiceovers, as different characters narrate the action; that's a conceit that is downright annoying. On a positive note, Kevin Bacon gives a really compelling performance as Morris, deftly blending elements of Lewis and Martin into one very interesting character.

And then there's the sex. The film revolves around a couple of explicit sex scenes that are the keys to the mystery and fundamental to the story, but that didn't fly with the conservative ratings board. So the movie got an NC-17 rating, which the studio and filmmaker decided to leave off, choosing the "Open" designation instead. Be assured, however, that this is not a pornographic movie by any means, but it is a movie made for grown-ups. Too bad it isn't a better one of those.

(Updated: 01/23/08 NJ)

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