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“Deception is not very deceiving.”

One definition Webster’s gives to the word deception is, “something that deceives”. As an example if I told you that the new film Deception was a cutting edge thrill ride that keeps you guessing until the end. An end that is so clever and so unpredictable it ranks right up there with The Joy Luck Club and Primal Fear; that would be a deception. A very large deception. In fact, it would be a blatant lie. The truth is that this film is decent but a bit predictable. One that will not be remembered or ranked but instead sort of watched and forgotten. Now you know the truth and hopefully that truth will set you free to go watch something else or give this a shot with no hype or expectations.

Jonathan (Ewan McGregor) is a mild mannered accountant who sort of drifts through his uneventful life. When he begins a friendship with the charismatic Wyatt (Hugh Jackman) he finds himself in the middle of what seems to be excitement and sexual adventure but soon discovers he is being played. Due to a mistaken identity Jonathan has a Deuce Bigalow moment and finds himself in an anonymous sex club, catering to upper-class business women who are looking for, as one woman states it, intimacy without intricacies. He is willing to go along with this new found game until his old fashioned nature kicks in and he finds himself caring deeply for one woman (Michelle Williams) in particular. By then it is too late and he is now faced with trying to save her life while staying out of jail.

I liked this film for the most part. It stayed on its plotted course and ended up where most would suspect. The acting is what you would expect from past examples. McGregor has this boyish charm that is sellable as the gullible, shy guy. In contrast Jackman is the dominant character and has a way of flexing that without being over bearing. If you swapped these two roles it would never work. But allowing the actors physical attributes to come through, it does. Williams, though decent, is the weakest factor. Actually weak is not fair to her. It would be better to say that she doesn’t bring anything of herself to this role. You could have replaced her with any other warm body from Hollywood with the same results. It could be what the character called for, but would have been nice to see a little of her in the role.

Deception is rated R for sexual content, language, brief violence and some drug use. There are also a few scenes of brief nudity which add up to a fair amount of nudity over all. The sexuality is rampant and though shot in a way that is artistic and full of shadows and cutaways, it is still a dominant part of the film. The deception takes place in a “sex group” and so the theme and details of that are evident. It is not a vulgar film by any means. If anything I commend them for not going as overboard as they could have. They used what they had to in order to set up the plot and define the characters. Nothing more, nothing less. But still be aware of the seductive sexuality of the film. I give Deception 3 out of 5, star 69’s. It is watchable but unfortunately, forgettable. And those turned off by sexuality in film will not find enough solid plot to make up for the content.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(4/25/08)

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and co-hosts a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

Review copyright 2008 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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