October 11, 2008

My mom and I decided to watch Deception this afternoon. We’d seen a trailer for it when it was briefly in theaters in April, and it stars Hugh Jackman (who was also one of the six producers). We’re both big fans of his.

Deception cover
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Ewan McGregor plays a corporate auditor who gets corrupted by Jackman, a high-powered lawyer. This is completely unbelievable. For example, shortly after they meet, knowing nothing about each other, Jackman’s character is handing McGregor a joint. Giggling together becomes shorthand for bonding. I also found it a little hard accepting McGregor as a shy nerd after seeing so much of him rocking out in Velvet Goldmine.

It’s a thriller with attractive people, but it’s so slow-paced that it had trouble keeping my attention, and for all the promise of the premise, about exploring sex clubs and boundaries, it’s very surface-based and cold. Everything’s filmed in darks and greys, and over a third of the way into it, nothing much had happened. It commits the cardinal sin of an erotic thriller: there’s no passion to it. No one gets hot and bothered, not on-screen, not off. It’s boring.

After the two guys accidentally switch cell phones (if you stop to ask, “does anyone really do that?”, you will not enjoy this movie, which is built on predictable coincidence; my mother reacted to one incident with, “why would he do that? that’s just dumb”), McGregor finds himself getting Jackman’s no-names-shared booty calls as part of “The List”, a way for high-powered rich people to hook up with no strings. Jackman does slick a little too well, meaning the viewer will find him suspicious from the start.

This is the director’s first feature after a career doing commercials, and that background matches the glossy montage of sex scenes. Michelle Williams (“that girl from Dawson’s Creek“, as we refer to her) is lovely as the femme fatale but isn’t called upon to do much other than look pretty so McGregor can fall for her. This movie probably would have been better watched in a theater than a living room. There, I wouldn’t have kept looking around thinking, “oh, it would be more interesting to watch that instead of this” or find something to read. I don’t mind a guilty pleasure watch, but this is just dull. And predictable.

For special features, the DVD has a director commentary, a making-of featurette, a “Club Sexy” featurette (an excuse to show clips from the film and have a therapist assert the existence of real-life sex clubs), and deleted scenes, including an alternate ending, with more commentary by the director. (A complimentary copy of this movie was provided by the studio.)

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