In theory, there are a number of things wrong with Duplicity, Tony Gilroy’s follow-up to Michael Clayton. The title sucks; it sounds like that stupid Michael Keaton comedy Multiplicity. And what good movie gets released on March 20th? March is a studio dumping ground for films that aren’t quite good enough to play in the big months of summer and fall, but aren’t crappy enough to stick in January. Yet with all that baggage (not to mention the fact that star Clive Owen already has what looks like a disposable international espionage thriller coming out in early 2009 called, fittingly, The International), we’re wildly excited about the just released trailer for Duplicity.
Lots of that excitement has to do with the two leads: the aforementioned Mr. Owen and little actress named Julia Roberts. As a pair of ex-spies and current lovers trying to scam $40 million dollars out of a pair of giant corporate conglomerates (and possibly scam each other in the process), the stars display more chemistry in the two-minute trailer than they did in all of their scenes together in Mike Nichols’ adaptation of Closer. Mr. Owen, clearly taking notes from George Clooney’s work in Out of Sight and the Ocean’s trilogy, looks as light on his feet as we’ve ever seen him. And we’re delighted that Ms. Roberts is back on screen in a role that seems ideal for her. Between starting a family and playing what amounted to set decoration in the Ocean’s films and Charlie Wilson’s War, we haven’t seen Ms. Roberts get a role that is potentially this juicy since Erin Brockovich (which, incidentally has been on cable recently and is as awesome as we remembered).
If you’ve noticed that we’ve mentioned a handful of Steven Soderbergh films in the previous paragraph that’s because Mr. Gilroy looks like he’s modeling his career after the great director’s most populist works. And thank goodness! With Mr. Soderbergh off gallivanting around making 3-D musicals about Cleopatra and experimental movies staring porn stars, we’re happy to see Mr. Gilroy continue the tradition of making smart films that are for adults; it’s really becoming a lost art.