Trust the Man (2005)

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Released 27-Apr-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Deleted Scenes
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 95:24 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bart Freundlich
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring David Duchovny
Julianne Moore
Sascha Gillen
Brianna Gillen
Liam Broggy
Scott Sowers
Billy Crudup
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Garry Shandling
Sarah Knowlton
Brian Tarantina
Justin Bartha
David Greenspan
Case ?
RPI ? Music Clint Mansell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Sex and commitment (or the lack thereof) lie at the heart of Bart Freundlich's Trust the Man. The title, of course, has a dual meaning - the importance of trust is one thing but it also carries the colloquial meaning - "trust the man to stuff it up!".

Tom (David Duchovny) is a successful New York advertising executive who has given it all up to be a stay at home dad for his early school son whilst his film actress wife Rebecca (Julianne Moore) concentrates on her career. She has conquered film and is now looking for credibility via a stint on Broadway.

The couple are very much in love but their sex life has become non-existent. As the reality of being a home dad continues to bite, Tom looks for relief with an attractive mother from primary school.

Meanwhile, Rebecca's brother Toby (Billy Crudup) is not faring much better in his relationship. He has been in a relationship with Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal) for 7 years but can't bring himself to pop the question or to understand the depths of her desire to start a family. He too is tempted by an old flame in the form of a hot Eva Mendes.

You can't mention New York, troubled sex lives and visits to therapists in one sentence without thinking Woody Allen. Trust the Man is cast from the same mould but without Allen's deft script work. The script by Freundlich moves uncomfortably between comedy and drama with some shuddering between gears. He certainly knows how to write some good lines but the characters are ill defined making it difficult to engage with their problems.

Duchovny does a good job at investing the bland Tom, and his "I don't need to dress for success any more" wardrobe, with a level of familiarity. Crudup is given the hard task of playing the "Jack Black" role of the annoying man-child who is finally forced to grow up. Gyllenhaal struggles to take her character past its one note. Only Julianne Moore, the wife of Director Freundlich, is given a wide range of emotions to portray.

There is much to like in the performances and there are a few good scenes. Gary Shandling and Bob Balaban have nice cameo roles as therapists, but overall the film has the feel of an unfocused work that struggles with its central characters. Their motivations simply aren't believable. Toby, who is 36 years old, can't settle down because he is scared of death?! Though deprived of sex at home, Duchovny's decision to enter into an affair is not well explained as he and his wife are otherwise a complete couple and the humorous subplots, such as when Tom joins Sexaholics Anonymous, have the feel of cheap laugh about them.

Trust the Man is light enough fair for a uncomplicated Friday evening but otherwise can't really be considered a success.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Trust the Man is presented on DVD in a 2.35:1 transfer which is consistent with its cinematic aspect ratio. It is 16 x 9 enhanced.

Whilst the script may be justly criticised, the transfer is a clear step above. There is a nice crispness to the image and good use of colours where appropriate. As said, Duchovny's character is outfitted in a range of blandly coloured costumes but Moore gets a chance to wear some bright clothing. Although the interiors are nicely lit and warmly shot it is the exteriors, on the streets of New York, that fair best as there is a real clarity to the image quality.

Surprisingly, there are no subtitles.

The transfer is clean of any print damage or artefacts and there are no compression issues to be found. There is a gentle film grain.

All in all a pleasing transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   Trust the Man receives a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix running at 448Kb/s.

The film is largely dialogue and the transfer is reasonably clear and forthright. I had no difficulty picking up the dialogue. Audio sync appears fine.

There is a wealth of music on show here aside from the soundtrack which was composed by former Pop Will Eat Itself front man Clint Mansell who received some accolades in 2006 for his work on The Fountain. The music is appropriate if a bit unmemorable.

Otherwise the film does not really make much use of the surrounds and the subwoofer only comes to life during the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

The DVD begins with an advertisement for Creative Holidays and their package tours to the USA. The retail DVD has a competition sticker on it but the screener sent to me doesn't detail the promotion. It is a bit annoying but it can be skipped.

Otherwise the DVD contained some interesting extras.

Deleted Scenes

There are 4 deleted scenes. They are presented in their original aspect ratio but are not 16x9 enhanced.

1. Toby and Rebecca meet up in a department store and go looking for a present for Tom. Rebecca grills Toby about his intentions of tying the knot with Elaine.

2. Toby follows his therapist around as he walks through New York in some unflattering tights before participating in an Aerobics class. Although the scene goes to explain why the therapist dumps Toby during the film it is a bit sad. Probably Bob Balaban was relieved not to see on the screen.

3. Tom visits a doctor to complain that his testicles vibrate every time his cell phone rings, irrespective of whether it is in his pocket. This lengthy scene is pretty funny although it probably typifies the problems with the film. It is funny in a sketch comedy fashion but does not contribute anything to the overall story. The same can be said of Tom's visit to the Sexaholics Anonymous.

4. Rebecca is having a quiet meal at a restaurant when she is interrupted by an autograph seeker and her daughter. Apart from showing that she is a celebrity and subject to the usual social interferences the scene adds nothing to the film.

Interviews-Cast & Crew

Each of the actors are interviewed, as well as Director Freundlich, about their role in the film. Although these are partly subject to the limitations involved in studio interviews (when was the last time you have heard an actor say that the Director sucked?) the fact that each of these interviews is approximately 12 minutes (Mendes and , for some reason Moore are short by comparison) means that they run out of fluff and need to actually get deeper into the characters and the film. For this reason they are worth watching.

What is apparent is that this was a bit of a get together for friends. Julianne Moore did the movie because her husband asked her to and Duchovny, a friend of Freudlich's, claims that he had been anxious to work with the Director for some time and love the script.

By far the best interviewee is Crudup who jokes around constantly in a wonderful deadpan manner. He took on the role, he says, because he had no other work on the horizon and when asked if he liked the script he says that he does although he doesn't think it was well written. He says that he felt Duchovny worked best as an actor when he was sober! A real hoot.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The Region 1 version of this film has a commentary track with Freundlich and Duchovny. Being old mates this has the potential to be a lot of fun. There is also a Making Of featurette. The Deleted Scenes are presented with a removable commentary however the interviews are not included.

For true lovers of this film the Region 1 may be a better bet.

Summary

    Trust the Man is a well made romantic comedy drama film that failed at the box office possibly because it never fell clearly enough into any genre. It is funny in parts, dramatic in parts without taking us much more than skin deep into the characters.

The transfer to DVD is pretty good and the film looks and sounds about as best it can for the limited budget.

The extras are interesting enough.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, July 02, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DVR 630H-S, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TH-50PV60A 50' Plasma. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX - SR603
SpeakersOnkyo 6.1 Surround

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