Plot: A lonely accountant (Ewan McGregor) is drawn into an underground sex club called "The List" by a mysterious new friend (Hugh Jackman). When one of the women he meets through "The List" goes missing, he finds himself embroiled in a high stakes heist- which could have deadly consequences (cue ominous music).
Review: On paper DECEPTION must have seemed like a sure fire hit. They had a complex, sexually charged thriller featuring two huge international stars (Jackman & McGregor), and a bevy a beauties (Michelle Williams, Natasha Henstridge, Maggie Q, etc.). What could go wrong?
The answer- everything.
DECEPTION is a complete disaster. Obviously the filmmakers were trying to make a sexy thriller than would evoke memories of Hitchcock and film noir. The only films that came to mind while watching DECEPTION were those lame erotic thrillers that flooded cinemas in the mid nineties after BASIC INSTINCT hit it big- movies like SLIVER, JADE, COLOR OF NIGHT & NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS. Those films were all pretty lame, but at least they didn't skimp in the sex department. The sex scenes in DECEPTION are remarkably tame and are no steamier than anything that's seen every week on NIP/TUCK. This is pretty disappointing, as the film is full of absolutely drop dead gorgeous women. Usually the only reason anyone goes to see a film like this is for the eroticism. Sadly- the most erotic thing about this film are a couple of split second nipple shots, and a nice shot of Maggie Q in a thong. That's as hot as it gets.
Lack of T&A aside, DECEPTION has plenty of other problems. For one- Ewan McGregor is badly miscast as a sad sack accountant who supposedly can't get a date. McGregor is way too handsome and debonair to make us believe he'd have any trouble approaching women. The Scottish McGregor also affects a really lame American accent that doesn't seem the least bit authentic. It's the kind of accent the Monty Python guys used in sketches where they made fun of American stereotypes. It's unintentionally funny- which is a surprise as McGregor has pulled off a decent American accent before. McGregor's career seems to be losing steam these days (he hasn't made a good film since BIG FISH in 2003), which is too bad as I think the guy's one hell of an actor.
Hugh Jackman fares better (at least in the accent department), although his role is still very two dimensional and under written. I don't think I'm giving too much away when I reveal that Jackman's not playing the most trustworthy guy in the world. Seriously- he's so obviously evil from the first scene that he might as well be carrying a pitchfork. He even tempts poor Ewan with a joint (GASP!). How diabolical!
While I think McGregor was miscast- I don't think anyone could have pulled off this terribly written role. He's supposed to be playing a super smart problem solving accountant- but he's so stupid throughout the film that I have a hard time believing that he can even put his pants on in the morning.
The obligatory love interest is played by Michelle Williams. While I was never a big fan of her work on DAWSON's CREEK, she's actually matured into a pretty good actress- but once again, she's let down by a poorly written role. I don't want to give too much away- but towards the end of the film her character flip flops between good and bad numerous times. Towards the end her character does something so silly that several people at the press screening started to snicker- which I presume is not the reaction the filmmakers were aiming for. No wonder Fox is barely promoting this thing.
DECEPTION is definitely a film to avoid. Anyone looking for a good thriller should go check out THE BANK JOB instead. With the summer movie season kicking off next weekend with IRON MAN (yeah!), DECEPTION will likely not stick around theaters too long, and will probably be on DVD in a matter of weeks. Do yourself a favor and skip it.
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