Thursday, December 2, 2004

Movie: Closer

Posted on Thu, Dec 2, 2004 at 4:00 AM

**1/2

Closer
Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Website: http://sonypictures.com/movies/closer/
Release Date: 2004-12-03
Cast: Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Michael Haley
Director: Mike Nichols
Screenwriter: Patrick Marber
WorkNameSort: Closer
Our Rating: 2.50

Fresh from treating Garden State to her affected bohemianism, Natalie Portman puts her sorority-smooth bum forward as the world's most unlikely stripper … and somehow emerges even less scathed from her latest brush with potentially fatal miscasting. There's something accessible about the woman, and it extends to co-stars Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Clive Owen, who gamely reinterpret playwright Patrick Marber's cruelty-soaked drama about partner swapping in modern-day London. Beyond the charisma of its cast, however, the movie is unfortunate proof that a moderately successful play does not a worthwhile film make, even when its author himself is doing the adapting (and the esteemed Mike Nichols is directing). The forward-leaping narrative that seemed so daring on the stage merely comes off as jarring, the copious chance meetings are particularly improbable outside the pressurized environment of a theater, and the bitter soliloquies ring stilted in ways even the capable actors can't overcome. A formerly startling string of episodes has become a prurient, static exercise in monochromatic tongue-lashing.

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