I watched “Duplicity” starring Julia Roberts (love her) and Clive Owen (he’s okay) last night. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I knew that it had received good reviews from critics but wasn’t scoring nearly as well as hoped at the box office. Still, I was looking forward to finally seeing Julia in a lead role again.
I can’t say that I loved the movie. The story goes for an “Ocean’s Eleven” caper kind of thing, but the premise comes off rather boring. Corporate spies toting file folders don’t quite have the fun factor as killer spies toting guns (e.g. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”). All of the charm that the movie does possess come from the exotic locations and especially from Julia and Clive. They have great chemistry together, and their back-and-forth banter makes up the most entertaining parts of the movie. However, any goodwill for the movie pretty much went out the window when the ending was revealed. I don’t want to give anything away, but it makes everything that happened, including the characters themselves, pretty much stupid and pointless. I was sure there was going to be one more plot twist, but no; I couldn’t believe it when the credits started rolling.
So, the movie itself was a disappointment. Still, I CAN report that the Julia magic is still very much alive. She does look older now, and some of that “Pretty Woman” vivacity has been dimmed. But contrary to popular belief, it really wasn’t Julia’s famous smile or her big, gleeful laugh that made Julia Julia. Rather, it was her emotional nakedness, her innate ability to let the audience look at her and know–FEEL–exactly what she’s feeling right along with her. There’s a scene near the end of the movie when Julia and Clive are sitting down and talking, and Julia tells him in plain terms how she feels about him. When Julia looks at Clive and simply says, “I love you,” you can’t help but believe it completely; it makes absolutely no difference that she’s said the same thing before to Richard Gere and Hugh Grant. And THAT is why Julia is worth the big bucks and why she’ll live to see another day (Bring on “Eat, Drink, and Pray”!).