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Where the Truth Lies

Truth is Stranger thanů

The powerhouse duo of Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth) enraptured countless in the 1950s with their yin and yang of manic comedy and suave charm. At the height of their popularity, the unfortunate appearance of a blonde corpse in their bathtub tarnished their formerly sterling reputation. While airtight alibis got them off the hook, the duo parted ways. Exactly what the truth is about their parting has remained a mystery for years.

The ambitious Karen O' Connor (Alison Lohman) insinuates herself into the lives of Vince and Lanny in an attempt to uncover the truth and launch her fledgling career. Karen is so committed to uncovering the truth, she even insinuates herself into Lanny's bed in an attempt to get the scope. Naturally, the deeper she digs, the more complicated and disturbing things become.

Director Atom Egoyan has crafted an intriguing (if not seamy and sordid) "whodunit" in Where the Truth Lies. Replete with graphic sex, generous debauchery, and the lack of a MPAA endorsed rating, Egoyan's latest seems a far cry from some of his previous work (The Sweet Hereafter). Perhaps Egoyan has been spending too much quality time with Joe Eszterhas or Paul Verhoeven. While admittedly, the graphic sex and nudity is vaguely titillating, it does little to enhance the story.

The other challenges with Where the Truth Lies is Alison Lohman's performance. While it's not entirely clear if it's her fault or the fault of perhaps overwrought dialogue, Lohman frequently comes across as overly melodramatic in pursuit of the truth. There are numerous moments that are unintentionally humorous as she grills Lanny and Vince for the truth.

Fortunately, Kevin Bacon's showing as the womanizing, narcissist Lanny almost makes you forget Lohman's lackluster performance. Bacon has carved out a niche for himself playing darkly handsome, dangerous bastards (Telling Lies in America, Wild Things). Lanny is no exception and is almost as offensive as he is charming. Colin Firth also provides a solid performance as the "straight" man, Vince Collins.

Where the Truth Lies provides lurid, vague entertainment for most of the runtime of the film. But, if you're looking for quality film noir, you can do much better than this. Many of the moments that are presumably supposed to feel dark and foreboding seem downright absurd. Around halfway through the film, exactly what the truth is becomes largely irrelevant.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars