** (out of 5)
April 26, 2008
Ewan McGregor as JONATHAN MCQUARRIE
Hugh Jackman as WYATT BOSE
Michelle Williams as S
Directed by: Marcel Langenegger
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I will admit that I like a good erotic thriller when it comes along. The problem in general with these films is that they don’t focus enough of the thriller part (or the plot in general) and spend most of their time pushing the erotic part.
In the end (and there’s absolutely no pun intended there), we’re left with a film that has all the pizzazz and fire but none of the substance. The history of cinema is littered with torrid let tepid films with plenty of star nudity but no other reason to watch the film.
Even the big films we might remember, like Body Heat, isn’t really that good when you get down to it. In many ways, that film represented nothing for me but a chance to see Kathleen Turner with her clothes off. Other films, like Body of Evidence, are unwatchable outside of the fantasy sex scenes. Others like Sliver have big promise but no payoff.
The only real landmark erotic thriller I remember in my lifetime is Basic Instinct. That was a decent movie and had tons of sex in it. It lived up to all the expectations.
The new erotic thriller Deception is no Basic Instinct, but fortunately it’s not as bad as Madonna’s Body of Evidence either.
The film follows a nerdy accountant named Jonathan (Ewan McGregor) who meets a new friend named Wyatt (Hugh Jackman). Through a mistaken switch of their cell phones, Jonathan is introduced to Wyatt’s sex club, a private group that randomly phones each other to meet for a night of meaningless and anonymous sex. However, when one of the members of the club goes missing, suspicion turns to Jonathan.
The first two thirds of this film are somewhat rote but at least deliver enough sex to justify an R rating and keep the thriller part sustained. However, when the movie rolls into the last third, things just start to unravel. Forget the major reality holes (including why Wyatt can buy a prepaid cell phone that is virtually identical to Jonathan’s real deal for the switch). There’s so many things that don’t fit together to make the film actually work.
Atop of these logic flaws and plot holes, the film tries to be oh-so-clever by putting a bunch of double-crosses and twists in the plot. This wouldn’t be so bad if these either weren’t telegraphed so obviously or played out completely in the film’s trailer.
And here’s a nice suggestion, Hollywood. If you want a film to have this many twists, it’d be best to not name the movie Deception. That would be like naming Citizen Kane something like It’s a Sled or renaming Psycho with Norman Bates is the Killer Who Dresses Like His Dead Mother.
Yes, I appreciated the gratuitous amounts of sex in the first half, although it just seemed too weird with a sex club populated with Natasha Henstridgess, Michelle Williams and Maggie Qs. In reality you would expect a Rosie O’Donnell to find her way in there. It is all secret, after all.
Where can I get one of those phones?