THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Movie Review

A sex thriller neither sexy nor thrilling

Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor in Marcel Langenegger's 'Deception.' Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor in Marcel Langenegger's "Deception." (jonathan wenk)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Wesley Morris
Globe Staff / April 25, 2008

Calling your terrible crime thriller "Deception" is like naming your bad cooking movie "Food" - an advertisement for laziness. In a way, that title saves you some guess work. Somebody is getting deceived. In this case, it's Ewan McGregor. He plays Jack, a wimpy accountant who sounds a lot like Woody Allen.

Jack makes bizarrely fast friends with Wyatt, one of the attorneys in the Manhattan law firm where he's doing some consulting. The speed at which he falls under Wyatt's spell is understandable since Wyatt is played by Hugh Jackman, who's never seemed taller and whose face has never looked so . . . tight. Their first night together, they share a joint and some laughs in a conference room. Jack goes home a little smitten, telling his new friend, "I haven't felt this good since Van Halen in '97." They play tennis together. They go out clubbing.

Intrigue is meant to abound after Wyatt introduces Jack to a sex club called the List, which apparently does not involve two men sharing a hotel bed together. It's just your garden-variety straight-sex-with-strangers group that includes, momentarily, Charlotte Rampling, whose on-screen appetite for erogenous adventure knows no apparent bounds. In "Deception," she informs us that she likes 'em young and pretty much leaves the movie, presumably going back to France where the lousy sex thrillers at least have decent sex.

While the movie, which Mark Bomback wrote and first-timer Marcel Langenegger directed, tries to figure out precisely when to become thrilling, a parade of women arrive to confirm the heterosexuality of our stars. That list includes Natasha Henstridge, Maggie Q, and, most mysteriously, Michelle Williams as a gorgeous, forlorn, and unnamed blonde who mopes her way into Jack's life. Is she the femme fatale or is Jackman? "I don't want to complicate your life," Williams tells McGregor. "I want all the complications you've got!" he replies. Ewan, use protection, please.

Apparently, neither she nor Wyatt is who they say they are. What's shocking about that is that Jack finds it shocking at all. This is at least the fourth unmentionable thriller where McGregor plays a dupe, and it's exasperating watching a clever actor take on so many obtuse characters. When he finally smartens up here it's too late to be believed.

"Deception" coughs up an exploding apartment, an ineffectual detective (Lisa Gay Hamilton), and an outlandishly half-baked finale. Inevitably, we're plunked down in Chinatown, where in dreary Hollywood movies cliches go to play. The movie actually does feel like an Americanized work of Hong Kong moviemaking. But the desperate, derivative style, the nonsense plotting, and leggy, horny women are applied like too much MSG.

Wesley Morris can be reached at wmorris@globe.com. For more on movies, go to boston.com/ae/ movies/blog.

Deception

Directed by: Marcel Langenegger

Written by: Mark Bomback

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, and Michelle Williams

At: Boston Common, Fenway, suburbs

Running time: 108 minutes

Rated: R (Sexual content, language, brief violence, and some very unconvincing drug use)

more stories like this

  • Email
  • Email
  • Print
  • Print
  • Single page
  • Single page
  • Reprints
  • Reprints
  • Share
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Comment
 
  • Share on DiggShare on Digg
  • Tag with Del.icio.us Save this article
  • powered by Del.icio.us
Your Name Your e-mail address (for return address purposes) E-mail address of recipients (separate multiple addresses with commas) Name and both e-mail fields are required.
Message (optional)
Disclaimer: Boston.com does not share this information or keep it permanently, as it is for the sole purpose of sending this one time e-mail.