The Truth About Charlie

The Truth About Charlie is that for a globetrotting super-spy his life was desperately boring. Even in death, Charlie isn't all that interesting. To compensate, Director Jonathon Demme has apparently enlisted a massive corps of rejected MTV cameramen who resort to constant camera cuts, movement, and rotation to keep viewers panicked and just a little bit motion sick.

Charlie, the man for whom the film is titled, is dead within minutes of the opening credits, leaving Reggie (Thandie Newton), his clueless new wife to pick up the pieces of his mysterious life. Trapped in Paris and pursued by a bevy of fairly lazy and transparent villains, Reggie discovers that her husband was much more than a dealer of art. His demise left unanswered questions and she holds the key to something that everyone else seems to want. Turning to her only Parisian friend, a heroic new acquaintance named Joshua (Mark Wahlberg), she quickly discovers that trust is something she can't afford.

The thing is, Reggie's just far too likable for her own good. Everyone seems taken by her marvelous personality and never really goes out of their way to do anything more than token harm to her. Good and bad guys seem to admire her, sacrificing their lives and risking careers to save her. More than one person lauds her morality, her honesty, and her stand up charm. Why the is everyone so in love with Reggie? I can't point to a single moment in which she does anything worthy of note. Her crime solving, life saving philosophy is to simply stand around looking confused and lost. I'm not sure how blatant stupidity and ignorance warrants such respect, but she gets it from everyone, and in spades. I think the truth is, that it's not her personality they admire, but her nipples, which seem permanently, erect as they poke happily through the thin fabric of her various sweaters.

She could at least do something practical. For instance one might consider wearing appropriate foot attire when planning to engage in extensive running. While great for making you taller, high-heels are not the preferred attire of most professional runners. Certainly with nipples like that she could at least pick a better companion than Wahlberg, whose character she's only spoken with briefly, but is somehow implicitly trusted. In her situation I'd have taken him for a walk along the river and tossed him off a bridge at my earliest convenience. Instead, she falls hook, line, and sinker for Joshua's affections. Under the professional attention of Wahlberg's dismal acting, these only make Joshua seem interminably out of breath. When he does catch his breath to belt something out it sounds like he's reading off a napkin or reciting something he read from a greeting card, leaving us to wish he'd go back to running up stairs.

Truly though, it's easy to see how Reggie's incompetence might be admired. It's not as if the "highly trained" militants pursuing her are all that much brighter. Heck, they aren't even physically fit. They're best method of attack seems to be collapsing in a heap on top of her, followed by a massive, life ending heart attack. When not fainting to stop her, they throw themselves in front of crazy old women in Geos or stand around ineffectually, counting on their ethnicity to hint at unseen karate ability.

The Truth About Charlie never really gets around to doing anything. Action is hinted at, but never seen. Intrigue is all around but largely ignored. Music is forced down your throat consistently, as if a substitute for actual content, but Charlie remains limp and lifeless; as dead as the man for whom the movie itself has been named. Remarkable for a film whose first frame opens with gratuitous and pointless nudity. Perhaps Demme thought it might be sexy. Sadly, even that basest form of excitement never really enters into it.

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