the Sexy Truth
Dunnit? Who Cares?
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
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.
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.