Trust the Man (R) ★½

Review Date: September 1st, 2006

Although supported by a strong cast, Trust the Man just rambles on and on as the self-absorbed Manhattanites in the film talk and whine endlessly about their relationships. Trust me, a Woody Allen film it is not.


Of course it’s hard to maintain a healthy relationship, but for these two New York couples, it’s downright painful. First, there’s Rebecca (Julianne Moore) and Tom (David Duchovny), a long-married couple with two young kids. Rebecca, a successful actress, doesn’t like to have sex nearly as much as her Mr. Mom husband, so they fight about it. Eventually, Tom has an affair with a mom from his kid’s school. Natch. Then there’s Tobey (Billy Crudup), Rebecca’s younger slacker brother and Tom’s best friend, who has been in a relationship with Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal) for eight years but can’t commit to the whole marriage/baby thing. Eventually, Elaine dumps him. Double natch. Can these crazy kids get it together in time to reunite and make kissy face? Hmmm.


Trust the Man probably looked good on paper, with juicy speeches and witty repartee—well, at least seemingly witty. I say give me a script filled with “Then a car chase ensues” or “then they have crazy sex all over the room.” But of course that isn’t the kind of movie serious ACT-TORS are interested in, is it? Moore doesn’t really have a choice but star in Trust since her hubby, Bart Freundlich, wrote and directed it; her participation is a given and she makes the most of it. The very capable Duchovny, Crudup and Gyllenhaal also present a strong front, as they each deliver their own moments of inspired brilliance. Crudup is particularly convincing as a crass city dweller too wrapped up in his own neurosis to notice the love of his life getting away.


It’s apparent Freundlich is looking to emulate the classic Woody Allen film of yesteryear, but in no way does he even come close. Allen is still the master of writing hilarious, poignant scripts about the lives and loves of New Yorkers. To his credit, however, Freundlich does makes some heartfelt attempts at showing the numerous pitfalls of being in a relationship. The climactic ending in which Tom and Tobey try desperately to get their significant others’ attention at the opening of Rebecca’s new play is funny and moving at the same time. And obviously, with his real-life wife involved, some authenticity is added to the proceedings. But honestly, Trust the Man, describing the whole New York milieu, is almost too insular. It could have just as easily been plopped on a stage, where the actors could receive their just applause from their fellow Manhattanites after a particularly long-winded scene.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 1/2 stars.