What REALLY goes on in a job interview? Find out in the new revision of "Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed" (Warner Books) by Tony Medley, updated for the world of the Internet . Over 500,000 copies in print and the only book on the job interview written by an experienced interviewer, one who has conducted thousands of interviews. This is the truth, not the ivory tower speculations of those who write but have no actual experience. "One of the top five books every job seeker should read," says Hotjobs.com.

Trust The Man (3/10)

by Tony Medley

One of the best films I saw last year was “Heights,” about a group of young people living in New York. “Trust The Man” is about two couples living in New York. Neither film was humorous, but only “Heights” was not intended to be humorous. “Heights” had a brilliant script full of wonderful lines. “Trust the Man,” to the contrary, has lines like “I feel lost – I don’t know who I am anymore” (David Duchovny, who plays Tom, to his wife, Rebecca, played by Julianne Moore). Let me out of here!

There was another line, uttered by Rebecca to Tom, when she says, “I feel stressed.” I told my friend that I knew why she was stressed, she was trapped in a horrible movie!

The flimsy story has Rebecca and Tom in a troubled marriage, apparently because he wants sex and she doesn’t. Her sister, Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal), is in a seven year live-in relationship with Tom’s best friend, Tobey (Billy Crudup), who is a guy who likes to watch TV. Like most films nowadays, the two women are the breadwinners. Rebecca is a big time working actress while Tom is a househusband and fledgling writer, I guess. Maggie is a secretary and also a fledgling writer. As I said, Tobey likes to watch TV. Maggie wants marriage and a child. Tobey likes to watch TV. There’s no explanation as to why Maggie, who is bright and articulate, would waste seven years of her life on a jerk like Tobey, but that’s the way Writer-Director Bart Freundlich (Moore’s husband, which explains how she found herself trapped in this dog and troubled by stress) has created it.

The film starts out as we see one of Rebecca and Tom’s children sitting on the toilet trying to go to the bathroom. Later in the film we watch Tobey and Tom have a conversation while they are urinating. As far as I’m concerned, when a film has to show people going to the bathroom, that’s a film I don’t want to see. In fact, I can’t remember a film with a going to the bathroom scene that was worth watching, starting with “Catch-22” (1970), which was a dismal translation of a wonderful novel, and was the first film I remember to show a scene of someone sitting on a toilet.

I thought that everybody knew how to operate computers. But there’s a scene at the beginning where Tobey is allegedly typing into a laptop. I’d hate to see the output because he clearly does not know how to type. Crudup is an actor. We all know that there are actors who can’t cry real tears (e.g., Sean Penn, and, later in this very film, Julianne Moore), but what kind of actor can’t feign typing? Is it so difficult to sit at a keyboard and look as if you actually know what you’re doing? If Rock Hudson could feign making love to Doris Day and make us believe it, why can’t Crudup give a believable pretense of typing at a computer keyboard?

Another weak scene has Moore choking on a piece of cake with Tom applying the Heimlich Maneuver to save her. But when she is supposedly choking she is gasping and making noises. When you are actually choking, you can’t make any noise whatsoever. No air in; no air out. Nada. You couldn’t make any noise if your life depended on it, and it does in that situation.  But Moore is gagging and gasping and we can hear her. It really doesn’t take much research to discover this, but I guess that Freundlich and Moore just weren’t that interested to get even that right.

But that’s not the worst. The basis of the story is about how people can be together, have problems, go apart, and get back together. The problem with this is that when they get back together, Tobey hasn’t changed a bit as far as we can see, except that he is willing to make a fool out of himself to tell her he loves her. My friend, a beautiful woman, said that was enough. Well, maybe so. But it didn’t convince me. After all, they still have the rest of their lives to lead and does one act of doing something bizarre to proclaim love overcome seven years of being a jerk? I can’t see any logical reason why the two couples should have gotten back together, and the movie is basically silent about that, which is its overriding weakness. We are left to speculate without being given any facts upon to base our speculation. But, hey, this is Hollywood and we all know about Hollywood Endings, don’t we?

August 17, 2006