Release Date: March 20, 2009

Movie of the Day for Saturday, February 21, 2009
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Clive's still made about her infidelity in Closer.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
17/82 Kelly Metz Clive Owen and Julia Robers have great on-screen chemistry - not a perfect plot by any means but they carry it.
35/169 Max Braden Great dialogue, but the flashbacks of mistrust dampen the chemistry rather than spice it up.

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The title of the new film Duplicity implies the act of seeing or being double. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is ‘No’, it is not like Michael Keaton’s 1996 comedy Multiplicity where several cloned former Batman’s clean house, go on dates, and generally act a fool. This is a thriller where Julia Roberts and Clive Owen play a couple of competing corporate spies, who as a duo plot the ultimate con to get even with their respective bosses.

Duplicity is both scripted and directed by Tony Gilroy. While he’s best known for writing the highly lucrative “Bourne” trilogy, he also pulled double duty as first time director on last year’s Michael Clayton. This one’s premise smacks of 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith to some extent, so expect some sexual tension in the narrative (they share an erotic past in the script) as well as quality action, but not on the level of the Pitt and Jolie affair. With these stars we shouldn’t have to worry about a paparazzi riddled off-screen romance leading to the adoption of tens of kids from less fortunate Third World countries.

Roberts has returned to the screen more in recent years after tending to her own flock of kids for a spell. Once Hollywood’s top-paid actress, she hasn’t anchored a hit since her push-up bra aided turn as the titular Erin Brockovich in 2000 garnered her an Oscar. Yet, she’s still been a draw in films such as Ocean’s 11 (and 12). On flip side, Owen has always been solid since rolling into our consciousness in 1998’s Croupier. He also reached great critical heights as Spike Lee’s Inside Man and in 2006’s beautiful Children of Men. Sadly, though, the Brit hasn’t necessarily struck a chord with the buying public in America. He’s never had a hit of his own, save for supporting roles in Sin City and Bourne Identity, in which he deserved a hit, what with being a hitman and all.

Like a shark to chum, I smell Oscar bait with this one. Oscar winners and nominees abound as supporting players Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson, and the Blade Slinger himself, Billy Bob Thornton (putting away the Woodcock, yay!) add to the glossy packaging. That’s a pretty good starting five, which could rival Kobe, Tim Duncan and company if it were an NBA All-Star game! The re-teaming of Roberts and Owen, who co-starred in 2004’s Closer (7.4 on IMDb), shows inspired, yet risky casting. That movie ($27 million budget and only $34 million in domestic box office) is more known for having Natalie Portman shake what her momma gave her than the stellar give-and-take that these two screen veterans graced us with. My magic 8-ball (no 40 oz. to go with it) predicts greater heights critically and commercially for this film. (Brandon Scott/BOP)

Vital statistics for Duplicity
Main Cast Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson
Supporting Cast Paul Giamatti, Rick Worthy, Billy Bob Thornton
Director Tony Gilroy
Screenwriter Tony Gilroy
Distributor Universal
Screen Count 2,575
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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