Throw Mark Wahlberg into the mix, and you have as sure a recipe for cinematic suicide as can be imagined.
Actually, it's a little shocking that someone like Jonathan Demme, who should know better, would go speed-skating on ice this thin. More shocking still is that after deciding to update the sexy, quadruple-crossing spoof about spies, skullduggery and missing money, he should go and do it so very badly.
Truth to tell, from casting to cutting, there is scarcely a single smart move anywhere in this ham-fisted adaptation. More reduction than redux, Charlie throws Thandie Newton, the doll-faced moll from Mission Impossible, to the wolves as Reggie, a newlywed soon-to-be-divorcee who returns to Paris to find herself suddenly widowed. It seems that the titular Charlie was not the playboy art-dealer she fell for on a whim, but some kind of international nogoodnik.
Turns out that her late future ex's heartless enemies and even more dangerous friends are convinced that Charlie has stashed away millions of dollars, and soon everyone is trying to get the apparently innocent Reggie to lead them to lost loot -- including the handsome stranger (Wahlberg), who conveniently keeps popping up just in time to save her skin, and who may have killed her husband.
In Charade, the burgeoning affair between Audrey Hepburn's Reggie and her roguish rescuer, played by Cary Grant, holds the amazingly convoluted story together and keeps the twist-a-minute movie from completely jumping the tracks. Without this core element of gamesome glamour, Charlie doesn't just fall apart, it never comes together at all.
Some of the freshness of Peter Stone's original script has lasted (the revelation of where the booty has been hidden still pays off pretty well) as do a slew of gifted actors playing support, including Lambs vet Ted Levine and Tim Robbins, but it's way too little and way too late to redeem this incompetent impersonation. Rent the real thing instead.
In the latest 'Emory Looks at Hollywood' episode, Judith Evans Grubbs, Emory Professor of Roman…
"In the movies' worst scene..." should be "movie's"
--freelance copy editor, available for hire
I saw this headline before watching the movie yesterday, but this movie was way better…