Movie Review: The Other Man

The title? The Other Man. I wish it had been the other movie. Any movie.

Liam Neeson stars as suspicious husband and distant father Peter, who, following his wife’s (played by actress Laura Linney) supposed disappearance, begins to  suspect she may not have been so faithful. An e-mail from professional charmer and liar Ralph (Antonio Banderas) launches Peter on a journey to Milan, where he confronts Ralph, hoping to uncover the mysterious second life his wife has been living for so long. Though his daughter tries to stop him, he gradually grows more and more obsessed with figuring out the truth—despite the repercussions it may hold.

Here we have a film that had all the indications of a good movie going in. You had two badass stars (these are the guys from Taken and Desperado, respectively, after all), a premise that emanated with potential action and suspense, as well as the sexy drama of figuring out just how naughty a supposedly dear wife had been. Instead, what we are given is 87 minutes of uneventful, uninteresting dialogue, with absolutely no action, steam, or drama.

I sat through the entire movie expecting something—anything—to happen, only to finish, and still be left asking, “That’s it?”

The movie’s marketed as a thriller, but it’s anything but. It runs in a straight line—no ups, no downs, and even the ending twist is so casual and so pointless that it does nothing to enhance or build upon anything that has come before. I can’t even really say there’s a plot to it. The wife vanishes, and that’s pretty much it. When husband and fling collide, all they do is talk—for an hour. Both men are pretty much dicks, and Antonio’s character has the added benefit of being fairly creepy, but I can’t really say there’s any growth in either of them. No development. The two put their full repertoire of emotion and character into the roles, and do their best, but these two great stars are wasted here on such a shoddy script.

The whole pace of the film also feels a bit disjointed and shoddy. The passing of scenes feels more like, in many cases, they were simply cut and pasted together, with little in the way of transition. It’s all very abrupt. I think it was an attempt at suspense—but it just made for a flop.

There was a lot of things this movie could’ve been—and very little it is.

If you can see any other movie this holiday season, I would recommend you go do that. This movie isn’t even something to watch on a rainy day. It’s boredom straight through, and I guarantee you just about anything else would suit you better than this. Don’t waste your money.

Rating: ½ out of 5 stars

P.S. Below I’ve posted the trailer. It’s better than the entire movie, I assure you, and it’s also downright deceptive.  The music, the editing, the whole thing–all of it poses this rising sense of action that will build into a thrilling theatrical experience that simply isn’t there.

~ by Chris G. on January 1, 2010.

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