it's not you wolverine, it's me. The most deceptive thing about this cliché-ridden film is the fact that it's masquerading as a legit thriller, with the filmmakers expecting us to fall for even the most played-out film conventions. Deception? How about tricking people into paying to watch this bomb...that's deception.
From the get-go Wyatt (Hugh Jackman) and Jonathan (Ewan McGregor) relationship feels staged. The "chance" late-night get-to-know-you antics and smoking pot are laced with excessive laughter and scream "phony." People don't laugh that much with people they have just met, even if they're smoking killer weed. It's just not in our DNA, sorry.
From this male bonding session, the plot unfolds. Wyatt is a hotshot lawyer who befriends nerd-boy accountant Jonathan to help him bust out of his shell, or so we are led to believe. Wyatt leaves on business and the two mistakenly exchange cell phones. Wyatt's cell contains a phone list to an anonymous sex-club called The List, a twist of fate that allows Jonathan to score tons of sexual encounters when he answers a call from a female voice that asks simply, "are you free tonight?" Cut to the sex-fiend montage including Natasha Henstridge and Charlotte Rampling who are still getting naked after all these years. Enter "S" (Michele Williams looking amazingly hot). Participants in the sex club are not allowed to divulge personal info, but "S" and Jonathan, breaking all the rules, get to like each other. "S" disappears and a List chick is murdered, introducing two of the most unbelievable cops in film history. Jonathan's makes it his mission to find "S," a task that pits him against Wyatt.
If the film wasn't so predictable, it might've been a fun little flick. But every clue is so transparent that it feels like any plot-twist is telegraphed to you. Once you know where things are going, there will be no more deception-it's all been solidified and handed to you on a silver platter. The clichés force themselves upon the viewer in multitudes: thinly veiled double-crosses, a friendly villain, perplexed cops, a forlorn hot-chick, a do-gooder geek, naughty interludes in swanky hotels, making out in the rain... I could go on.
As the plot un-thickened, leaving gaping holes, I almost enjoyed it in a "it's-so-bad-it's-good" kind of way, but that got squelched fairly quickly. Inevitably, the pointless twists and turns run into each other at a snail's pace in this wannabe thriller. Where is Michael Douglas, all pensive and grinding his jaws, when we need him?
One key gripe must be addressed: why are these guys with Australian or British accents so dead set on doing what they perceive as American accents? It would've been a lot more believable/ entertaining if they stuck to their native tongue.
Deception is the quintessential non-thinking man's puzzle. Even with all the makings, it couldn't even conjure up much of a revenge strategy. I was ready to throw something at the screen during the last ten minutes as the "no-way-this-is-really-on-the-screen" factor started to creep off the scale. The film's psychotic unrequited love triangle and pseudo suspense is all just gratuitous foreplay for the lame climactic shootout, leaving no redeemable ending. It's almost laughable - almost. Just like the surviving characters, I left the theatre shaking my head in disbelief muttering,'How, oh how, could I have been so foolish....'
Hugh Jackman, Ewen McGregor, Michelle Williams. Director: Marcel Langenegger. Rated R.