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Closer: a Review in the Key of F
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closer

starring: Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman

I would like to get close to Jude Law and Julia Roberts. Close enough to punch them for being such crappy actors and contributing to the misery that is Mike Nichols' Closer.

I'd like to preface this review by letting you know that I really have no objection to movies about objectionable people behaving objectionably. In fact, I love films where the characters are so pathetic and despicable that one can't help but feel good about one's own questionable moral integrity. After watching Closer, the only thing I felt was annoyance at myself for wasting 98 minutes of precious weekend time (ok, it was more like 72 minutes because I can't really count the 26 minutes during the movie that I spent imagining that I was Clive Owen's love slave).

The movie is about two couples who are not together and then they're together and then they're not together and then they're together and eventually you just want all of them to die. The portrayal of a bizarre love/sex square between Anna (Julia Roberts), Larry (Clive Owen), Daniel (Jude Law) and Alice (Natalie Portman) is weak and disjointed. You do not get a clear sense of who the characters are or what their motivations are. You only get a taste of their reactions to their immediate situations and this lack of depth makes it impossible to feel anything but bored by their predictably bad behavior.

Since the beginning of filmmaking, Hollywood has been churning out movies about infidelity and betrayal but this movie does not break any new ground. While I'm sure that middle-America will be shocked and horrified by Julia Roberts' unladylike language, it's not anything that hasn't been said before. Perhaps if she had more than two facial expressions in her bag of tricks, her delivery of this sassy dialogue would have been more effective.

To be fair, Natalie Portman does a great job as sexy Alice and Clive Owen delivers a fantastic performance as the loathsome Larry, but this film might have been better served by having non-A list celebrities dish up some truly seductive "R" rated moments. Trust me, if you want real passion, you'd be better off buying a bottle of tequila and renting Last Tango in Paris.

end of essay
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