Trust the Man is a drama about the relationships of two New York couples, the problems they run into when temptation comes-a-knocking, and the efforts everyone takes to get back what they had. Directed and written by Bart Freundlich, Trust the Man is the kind of movie you are going to love or hate. And in most cases, it will be the latter. There is very little substance in it to enjoy. It is billed as a drama/comedy, but on the whole is weak when it comes to comedy. Overall, it is a decent movie that some will enjoy, but most won't care for.
The story is about two couples and the conflict that they face as both relationships turn sour. The first couple is Tom (David Duchovny) and Rebecca (Julianne Moore). They are married with children, two kids. Tom was an advertising executive who became a stay-at-home dad to watch over the children. This change was made in an effort to support Rebecca as an aspiring actress. She is preparing for her stage theater debut. The other couple is Tobey (Billy Crudup) and Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal). They have been dating for eight years. They live together and love each other dearly. Tobey, however, has no plans or thought about tying the knot. He is just not ready for that kind of commitment. For work, he is a sports writer. Elaine is also a writer. She is currently trying to get her first book published.
How the couples tie into each other are by means of family and friendship. Tobey and Rebecca are siblings. Rebecca and Elaine are best friends, while Tom and Tobey are as well. These relationships are important because they support each other throughout the story, in the good and the bad. When the movie begins, the two relationships are outlined and the general framework for their problems is explained.
Tom and Rebecca are having marital problems. Tom has an absurdly high sexual drive and repeatedly pushes Rebecca to be intimate. She, on the other hand, can do without it. This because a big issue, as it leads Tom to temptation, also known as another woman. Rebecca also has issues with Tom and how he acts in general. As for the other couple, Tobey and Elaine have an entirely different set of problems. They are mostly due to Tobey's fear of commitment and unwillingness to settle down, get married, and have kids. He fails to really show Elaine how much he cares. Slowly and systematically, both relationships end.
The relationships are complicated with outside romantic interests. Tom finds his way into an affair with Pamela (Dagmara Dominczyk), a single mother who he visits under the guise of taking his kid over for a play date. Rebecca finds comfort in a young actor named Jasper (Justin Bartha) who showers her with attention. Faith (Eva Mendes), a flirt from Tobey's golden days, returns into his life and spices things up. Elaine attempts to find happiness with her foreign boyfriend Goren (Glenn Fitzgerald). As the relationships come to a halt, the women are reluctant to accept the men back into their lives. They just don't trust them, seeing as how things ended. The men, on the other hand, realize how special what they had was. They go all out trying to repair their broken relationships and reunite with the ones they love.
There is not a whole lot that works for the movie. The first thing that comes to mind is the dialogue. It can be very witty and sometimes (with the right performer) delivers a punch and a great laugh. When I first started watching Trust the Man, I thought I was in for a great ride. There is a great opening scene with Duchovny and Moore. They have great chemistry together. And throughout the rest of the movie, they continue to work well together. Duchovny also handles himself well when he is on his own. The other performers do not provide nearly as strong as performances as Duchovny or Moore.
However, for all the strong points Trust the Man has, there are far many more weak points that hurt the movie. The worst is the story. It is not very engaging or entertaining. If it weren't for Duchovny's kooky character and his chemistry with Moore, I wouldn't have finished watching the movie. The problem is that not a whole lot seems to happen in the plot and what does happen seems fairly generic. This is a real shame because the dialogue had a tendency to be pretty sharp. Another major problem this movie has is that it is just hard to get into. Towards the end of the movie, I didn't care what happened; there is not anything to really pull you in and make you care one way or another what happens next.
Overall, Trust the Man is a decent movie. I enjoyed Duchovny and Moore's performance together. Beyond, there is not much to the movie. For those looking to see a dramatic comedy about relationships, this movie might make for a decent watch if you are big on the headlining performers. But for most people, this is not the kind of movie you have to see. Chances are, if you don't see Trust the Man, you won't be missing much.
The video is given in anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio widescreen color and 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The movie is provided on a double-sided, single-layered DVD. The full frame presentation is accessed on side A, while the widescreen on side B. The picture quality is fairly good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are occasional moments when the picture suffers compression artifacts and noticeable ghosting.
The audio is given in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround and Spanish 2.1 Dolby digital surround. The sound quality is good. Dialogue is easy to hear throughout the presentation. Music comes off rich and vibrant. As for the surround sound setup, there is limited use of the dynamic capability.
There are also subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
For extras, Trust the Man comes with a full-length audio commentary. Actor David Duchovny and director/writer Bart Freundlich star in it. The commentary is fairly interesting and kept my attention slightly more than the movie, but at the same time had several dry spots. In addition to the commentary, there are four deleted scenes (10:12). They are entitled "Tobey and Rebecca At the Apple Store", "Tom Visits Dr. F", "Tobey Follows His Shrink", and "Fan Meets Rebecca". The deleted scenes can be watched with optional commentary, where both Duchovny and Freundlich speak. The last extra is "Reel Love: The Making of Trust the Man" (13:00). It is an interview-style behind the scenes featurette that has commentary from various cast and crew (Freundlich, Moore, and Duchovny to name a few). They talk about the movie's premise, the characters, and so on.
Note the featurette is accessed on side A and the deleted scenes on side B.
Trust the Man is a movie about relationships. Specifically, how two couples fall from grace, split up, and reconnect with each other. At first, the movie appears to be a witty, comical production, but quickly turns into the opposite. There is little appeal to the story and characters. With the exception of Duchovny and Moore, Trust the Man has nothing to offer. This movie should make for a decent rental if Duchovny or Moore are on your favorite's list. Otherwise, I would not waste my time with it.