Romantic comedies (or “dramedies” if you prefer) set in New York City always bring a unique flavour for a viewer. The city itself sets an appealing tone that countless filmmakers have been capitalizing on for years. Just ask Woody Allen (Annie Hall). More often than naught they attract impressive ensemble casts to keep things interesting (New Year’s Day, New York I Love You). 2005’s Trust The Man falls into that category as well. It stars David Duchovny (Californication) and Billy Crudup (Watchmen) as two best friends who are trying to hold together their respective relationships with Julianne Moore (Hannibal) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (World Trade Center).
Duchovney plays Tom Pollack, a closet sex-addict who is cheating on his wife Rebecca (Moore); an actress of stage-and-screen. His slacker best friend (and Rebecca’s brother) Tobey, played by Crudup, is dealing with commitment issues to his girlfriend of seven years, Elaine (Gyllenhaal); who longs for marriage and children. Directed by Moore’s real-life husband Bart Freundlich, Trust The Man is part comedy and part drama that deals with what a relationship needs to survive. The film has been recently re-issued on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment as of April 10, 2012.
One would expect that the independently made Trust The Man would fall by the wayside in the annals of New York romances. While some may dismiss it as a Woody Allen-esque knock-off of sorts, the movie actually has some amusing value. Much (but with a few glaring exceptions) of the relationship drama embedded in the film feels very ‘real-life’ and less dramatized than most films put out by bigger studios.
Credit an impeccable cast and a smart script (the first two-thirds anyway) as the reason. Julianne Moore is highly effective as the actress-wife struggling to keep her marriage and her career healthy, and who better to play the sex-addicted husband than an actor who truly dealt with the problem in his personal life (and carried it into Californication) than David Duchovny? The real revelation here though is Billy Crudup, playing the lazy and neurotic-driven Tobey with such ease that it’s worthy of accolade.
Trust The Man is good with light drama and timely with some laughs, but unfortunately the film really loses its footing in the final act. Set during Moore’s opening night on stage, Tobey and Tom go through the most ridiculous of public embarrassment hoops in order to sway their ladies back into their lives. The climactic ending is an incredible shift change from the realistic tone the rest of the film possesses, and is just as campy as the worst kind of romantic comedy endings.
Trust The Man has been recently re-issued on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment on April 10th, 2012. The edition comes with a respectable video and audio presentation. The image quality never gets too dark for a standard definition picture and the dialogue in the film is always consistently clear. The film isn’t cinematically arresting in showing New York City and doesn’t blow away any stereo aspects, but it gets the job done in setting the tone and delivering the material. Attached is a decent audio commentary with Fruendlich and Duchovny, a making-of featurette, and some deleted scenes with additional commentary.
Trust The Man is a rental-worthy romantic comedy that pales in comparison to other great films set in the New York City backdrop, executed with some credible acting and dialogue. It’s unfortunate that the film fails to break away from the silliness wrought on by the final act. Otherwise it might have been more noteworthy. For a movie of this caliber, the DVD edition gives a consumer a fair-shake with a good presentation and some decent features.