January 31, 2010
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This Charlie guy does sound like a real dick!
Romance and suspense ignite a modern Paris backdrop in director Jonathan Demme’s fresh take on the Stanley Donen film Charade (also included on this disc). Regina (Thandie Newton) meets Joshua (Mark Wahlberg) while on vacation, as she’s contemplating ending her marriage to Charlie (Stephen Dillane). But upon her return to Paris, she finds that both her apartment and her bank account have been emptied — and her husband has been murdered.
Now it seems like remakes are coming out almost every week now, and this remake on a 1963 film Charade, is almost no different.
Jonathan Demme takes out the star power photographs the most drearily rainy Paris ever, and dumbs down all the lines. He veers back and forth between a darker take and remaking the original frothy whodunit until it’s not clear what he intended to do. A big miss all around. Unfortunately, I think Demme was working with a wrong material for what he wanted. At times, it even appeared that Demme himself was confused about whether he wanted a straight-forward light comedy or a more convoluted dark humor for the laughs. And the end result is a movie that doesn’t really succeed at anything it sets out to do.
This movie has way too many coinicidences that don’t seem reasonable or a bit too predictable. There is then a ridiculous scene where everyone who has threatened her just happens to show up at a dance hall, taking turns dancing with this heroine.
Thandie Newton does give out that little charm we know she can do very well, and brings out an actually good performance here as the lead. The problem was that I felt like Wahlberg as much as I love him he did feel seem a bit too clunky for this material and was acting too much as if he was in some action film, with his usual macho-esque appeal.
Consensus: Newton brings a lot of charm to the film, but is slow and doesn’t seem real at all, and more about the constant coincidences then the actual story itself.