The Movie Binge

Review: Trust The Man


So I will freely admit that I, being a Big Gay, have a slightly skewed view on modern American masculinity. But really, is it only me who's horrifically tired of movies in which straight guys who are pretty much irredeemable assholes can wind up showered in praise, winning the girl, saving the day etc. just for becoming marginally more aware of the fact that they are sad sacks of shit? Not that they actually change in any way; they just get to say "Yeah, I've been a bad guy" and the trumpets sound and all is forgiven. Does it really work that way out there? If so, women of the world: Why do you stand for it? And if you're putting up with it in the real world, why put up with it at the movies too?

Trust The Man is a complete masculine fantasy — a 180-degree content switch from something along the lines of Die Hard, sure, but ultimately just as absurd in its way. The film follows two male characters — David Duchovny as a mid-to-high-range sad sack, and Billy Crudup as a five-alarm, apocalyptic, "why do you use my precious share of New York City oxygen" -grade sad sack, along with their significant others Julianne Moore (God bless you, dear, you do try your best with whatever material gets handed to you) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, through break-ups, make-ups, and all else that they do. In the process, nobody learns anything. No, seriously. Duchovny learns that it's bad to cheat on your wife, and Crudup makes some kind of mumbling admission that perhaps being childish, petty, aggressively non-intimate, intellectually absent, and utterly lacking in morality is not the surest path to a woman's heart. But it doesn't appear to change their characters at all — and while maybe that could be an interesting gender-war point, the film ends on a completely triumphalist note, beaming with pride at the characters' "reinvention." To which I can only cry "bullshit, bullshit, bullshit." As mentioned before, Moore plays her character well, and Duchovny has a certain level of low-wattage charm (I love the guy, but he's up there with Caruso in the TV-to-film career-suicide sweepstakes), but Crudup's character is simply an abomination (hairstyling included) and no performance can redeem such a horrendous part. Please, if any of you out there happen to see this movie (I don't recommend it) and see your significant other on-screen, then in the acronym of the immortal Dan Savage: DTMFA. And tell him exactly why. Gene Parmesan, your Love Private Eye, demands it.