| Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore from “A Single Man,” “Far From Heaven” and “The Hours”), a successful Toronto gynecologist, suspects that her college music professor husband, David (Liam Neeson from “Taken,” “Kinsey” and “Schindler’s List”), may be cheating on her when he doesn’t show up for a surprise birthday party after missing a flight from New York by a few minutes.
Further incriminating evidence is a text message on David’s cell phone from a woman thanking him for last night.
After attending a symphony concert, Catherine and David meet another couple for dinner at a posh hotel. They play a game called “spot the hooker.” In the ladies room, Catherine passes some toilet paper to a woman crying in the adjoining stall. It is blonde Chloe (Amanda Seyfried from “Dear John” and “Mamma Mia!”). Catherine meets this young prostitute the next day at a bar and hires her to seduce her husband.
The opening scenes introduce the audience to Chloe while she is getting dressed. She explains through voice-over narration that words and descriptions are her forte. Her verbal utterances are as important as the way she moves her hands, lips, legs and tongue while role playing with a client.
Catherine is aroused in a voyeuristic way when Chloe graphically describes each erotic encounter she has with David.
Catherine is feeling insecure in her marriage and going through a midlife crisis. She shares intimate details with Chloe about how her libido has disappeared after 25 years of marriage. She questions whether she still loves David.
Her musically talented son Michael (Max Theriot from “Jumper” and “The Astronaut Farmer”) meets Chloe by accident at Catherine’s office. He becomes a pawn in this dramatic thriller.
This is an English language remake of the far superior and more subtle French film “Nathalie…” (2003) directed by Anne Fontaine (“Coco Before Chanel”). It starred Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant as the husband and wife with the enticing Emmanuelle Beart performing the title role.
Canadian director Atom Egoyan (“Where the Truth Lies” and “The Sweet Hereafter”) helms this venture with an adapted screenplay written by Erin Cressida Wilson (“Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus” and “Secretary”).
This sleazy and cheap imitation of the original takes a silly and ridiculous turn in the third act. It becomes a kinky lesbian imitation of “Fatal Attraction.” The tawdry sexploitation will be titillating for dirty old men.
Moore turns in another fabulous performance. Seyfried is too young for the lead role to be believable. Neeson is just handsome window dressing and the only one in the cast who keeps his clothes on. He deserves kudos for completing his scenes with a “show must go on” mentality.
Neeson left the set during filming in the middle of March 2009, after his wife Natasha Richardson had a tragic skiing accident. She died in the hospital a few days later from a head injury.
The movie’s strengths are the musical score, the interior decorating of the family home and effective use of various locations in Toronto.
This trashy art house fare almost crosses the utterly tasteless line into pornography and should have gone straight to DVD.
The 96-minute movie is now playing at AMC Studio 30, AMC Town Center 20, Cinemark Palace and the Leawood.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"