Image Entertainment // 2008 // 88 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // October 21st, 2009
What if everything you believed was a lie?
In my review of Powder Blue (aka The Jessica Biel stripper movie) I wrote: "Warning bells go off in my head when the back of a DVD case makes ridiculous statements, for example, 'All-Star cast accounts for more than $4 billion in box office!'" Well, guess what? History repeats itself with The Other Man, except that this time the stars only account for $1 billion in box office. On another note, unlike Powder Blue, this film apparently received a limited release before getting relegated to DVD. But does that make it a better film? No, it's just as bad.
Peter (Liam Neeson, Michael Collins), the owner of some kind of IT-related firm, is married to Lisa (Laura Linney, Absolute Power), a luxury shoe designer . They have a twenty-something daughter, Abigail (Romola Garai, Scoop). One day, at home alone, snooping around Lisa's computer, Peter discovers evidence of a love affair between her and a suave looking Italian, Ralph (Antonio Banderas, Femme Fatale). There's also a message from Ralph on Lisa's phone. Blinded by jealousy and seeking revenge, the cuckolded husband sets off to Milan.
The Other Man presents itself as a mysterious revenge thriller. Unfortunately, it is not really any of those, because the story and direction are simply awful. The lowest point unfolds with Neeson, who is an excellent actor, barking at the top of his lungs (brace yourself): "Gucci shoes!" It's hard not to feel sorry for him and Banderas, too. The dialogue and scenes that these two men have to act out are excruciatingly awkward and lame. For example, in Milan, a menacing Peter follows Ralph into a café and plays chess with him (!), multiple times (!?). The games symbolize (I think) a cat and mouse game of Peter extracting information about the affair, told in flashbacks (of course), from an unsuspecting Ralph. Too bad it's just boring, despite attempts to liven the proceedings by having the characters knock chess pieces off the table. All this boringness leads to another boring confrontation between the two men at a dinner table at the restaurant of a luxury hotel in Lake Como. And, once again, nothing happens. No punches are thrown. No threats are uttered. All that transpires are boring comments. Whoop-Dee-Doo!
Topping off all the mediocrity are two "surprise" twists involving two of three main players. I won't reveal either, except to say that one is ridiculously benign, while the other is so astoundingly poor and underwhelming it will make you want to shake your head, laugh at the silliness of it all, and toss the DVD into the rubbish bin.
The review copy was a screener, so I cannot comment on the quality of final product video and audio. Nor can I comment on the extras, as none of the planned bonus materials were available in advance.
Save your money and time: stay away from this wreck.
Zzz...zzz...I mean guilty!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Official Site