The Truth About Charlie

The truth about The Truth About Charlie is that it is another unnecessary remake. Charade originally came out in 1963, starred Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, and was directed by Stanley Donen. This time around, the players are Thandie Newton, Mark Wahlberg, and Jonathan Demme. First, making a remake of such a classic is like a death wish. It is extremely hard to even match the talent present in the original. Demme is good, and Newton may someday approach Hepburn, but Mark Walhberg? Come on. He's a decent actor, and will never be a Cary Grant. His usual skills also seem absent here. What is immediately obvious is that Demme (Beloved, Storefront Hitchcock) is a worshipper of the French New Wave. A couple times during the film, he focuses intently on some random old French women in the street. Another time, a strange old guy sings. These people include Magali Noel and Charles Aznavour, legends in French film. Too bad this flies over the head of almost everybody watching.

The Truth About Charlie is one of those movies where nobody is sure who is on their side. People doublecross each other constantly, each one trying to one-up the other. Their target is Regina Lampert (Newton, It Was an Accident, Mission Impossible II), a recent widower who knew little about her husband Charles (Stephen Dillane, Spy Game, The Parole Officer). All of a sudden, all sorts of people are after a large sum of money Charles had. The French police and three mysterious people are following her everywhere she goes. Still, Regina insists she knows nothing about any money. A Mr. Bartholomew (Tim Robbins, Human Nature, AntiTrust) who claims he is from the government appears, as well as a nice handsome stranger named Joshua Peters (Mark Wahlberg, Rock Star, Planet of the Apes). Joshua says all the right things and seems to show up everywhere that Regina is. He also is overly nice, and more than a little creepy (although Regina never notices this).

Odd, and one of the credited adapters has the name Peter Joshua. In reality, "Peter Joshua" is Peter Stone (Just Cause, Grand Larceny), who wrote the story for the original Charade. The other adapters are Demme, Steve Schmidt (Cost of Living), and Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On). Instead of surprising, the continual plot twists come off as contrived and tiring. It is obvious from the beginning that Joshua is not who he seems to be. As the story begins to upend itself, it loses track of its logic, and the teamups begin to become increasingly bizarre. The Regina character is also a study in inconsistency. One on hand, she seems to be a whiny woman who flails around not knowing what to do. Then, she becomes headstrong, intelligent, and even scheming. Then she switches back and forth. It is more confusing than anything else. Demme was probably going for some great rush or heady feeling as the story whizzes by, but it just doesn't work.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour 44 minutes, Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content/nudity.

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