Director Dustin Marcellino's The Identical is for anyone who ever wanted to see a fictionalized account of the birth of the Elvis-impersonator movement. Or anyone who'd enjoy Presley's songs more if their melodies weren't so complex and their lyrics weren't so depraved. Or anyone who's been yearning to see Ray Liotta play a devout evangelist who explains to his congregation why he just lit eight candles on a menorah, when, as we can see, he clearly lit nine.
Pretty much everything that's bothersome about director Clint Eastwood's biographical drama J. Edgar is only bothersome for the movie's first half hour. That may sound like a lot of time spent bothered. But the film does run 135 minutes, even its weakest moments are by no means awful, and in the end, it emerges as a really fine work with a really fine central performance. So as a nod to J. Edgar (the movie, not the man), let's just get it out of the way and address its failings at the start.
"All right, you've got five minutes to sell me your pitch. Go."
"Well, it's a romantic comedy - I'm thinking about calling it The Proposal - and it's about this bitchy, selfish book editor in Manhattan who learns deeper values and becomes a better person after falling in love with her assistant."
Starting with the film's enticing prelude, which finds Julia Roberts and Clive Owen engaging in the first of several argumentative flirtations in exotic locales, I felt that Duplicity was an intensely sharp, clever, enjoyable movie. It wasn't until its very last shot, though, that I felt it was also a great one.
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