Trust the Man (2005) starring David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Justin Bartha, Eva Mendes, Garry Shandling directed by Bart Freundlich Movie Review

Trust the Man (2005)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Billy Crudup and David Duchovny in Trust the Man (2005)

Gyllenhaal Wants Moore

I have a problem with "Trust the Man" and that problem is that it is blah. What do I mean well here we have a comedy drama about two couples whose relationships are in crisis and we watch as problems from commitment issues to lack of sex end up making matters worse. The trouble is just that, we watch, there is no connection to the characters, no sympathy for them in their problematic relationships and so whilst the laughs work the deeper empathy and understanding doesn't. If only the characters had been more human, more tangible then maybe "Trust the Man" would have worked but as it stands it borders on being pretentious.

On the outside Tom (David Duchovny) and Rebecca (Julianne Moore - Far from Heaven) seem to be happily married, he looks after the children whilst she is an actress. But beneath the surface things are not right as Tom likes having sex and Rebecca is not interested leading Tom to stray. At the same time Rebecca's brother Tobey (Billy Crudup) and his partner of 7 years Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal - Mona Lisa Smile) are also having trouble as Elaine wants marriage and a child whilst Tobey enjoys being technically single.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore in Trust the Man (2005)

To start off on a positive and that is the performances in "Trust the Man" are good, David Duchovny and Julianne Moore have this intensity going on when it comes to physical attraction and it means when it doesn't end up in sex the disappointment on Tom's face is real. Just as good is Billy Crudup as basically a man child because Tobey is still acting like a teenager and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Elaine gets across the frustration of lack of support and commitment. When all these actors are together is when "Trust the Man" is at its most interesting feeling natural as they talk and joke and even singly each of them shine.

But then there is the issue of characters and the trouble is that whilst Elaine and Rebecca are seemingly normal it is hard to connect with them. At the opposite end you have Tom and Tobey who border on extreme stereotypes as Tobey is a slacker, commitment-phobe whilst Tom being denied sex at home looks elsewhere. I know this is done for a purpose but it ends up leaving you as an observer rather than someone who can connect to the situation and as an observer it far too often feels pretentious.

The knock on effect of this is there are periods where "Trust the Man" ends up being boring because it borders on being up itself. And to be honest it is a shame as there are periods when it works especially when it comes to the humour with some great lines. Basically "Trust the Man" ends up being sporadic going from working to being dull and isolated.

What this all boils down to is that "Trust the Man" ends up a movie for those who enjoy mainstream movies but those which try to do things a bit differently. But in trying to be different it is at times blah which is a shame as there is some great writing which delivers some great laughs.