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Running Time:
1 hour, 40 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for sequences of graphic sexual dialogue, nudity/sexuality and language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Some people may find this a provocative, groundbreaking film, but despite four fine performances, it's difficult to relate to them much of the time.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Music video: Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter"

Based on Patrick Marber's 1997 London stage play, and taking place in the Bohemian chic of today's London, director Mike Nichol has captured the chill of England's foul weather, which somehow creeps into the characterizations of all four of the film's personalities. They live in a world of airy art galleries and cool loft apartments, spacious photography studios and posh gentlemen's strip clubs and restaurants with breathtaking views. Dan (Jude Law), is an aspiring novelist, with a job writing newspaper obituaries. He spies Alice (Natalie Portman) walking toward him on a London street. Not accustomed to cars driving on the left-side-of-street, she gets hits by a taxi. Dan takes her to the hospital, and while her superficial injuries are being treated, they flirt. He learns that she had been a stripper in New York. Jumping forward in time a few years, we see Dan going to a photo studio where he meets Anna (Julia Roberts), the photgrapher who will take his picture for the jacket of his first novel, based on Alice's colorful stripping career, and with whom he now lives. He flirts with Anna, she responds, then Alice appears. Alice gets rid of Dan momentarily so that she can confront Anna about the flirtation. Anna is mortified, but all Alice asks is that she take her picture. Then we flip forward to Dan logging on to an Internet sex chat room and, pretending to be a woman, exchanging salacious come-ons with Larry (Clive Owen), a dermatologist. Dan lures him to meet an unsuspecting Anna at the aquarium. Unsurprisingly, the two hit it off. And the film leaps back and forth followsing the complex relationships of the two couples, for whom happiness always seems to be elusive. Alice is upfront about her love for Dan, but she has the misfortune of being in love with a man who wants a woman who doesn't need him. The vulgar, nasty, banal games played by the two men and, with some reluctance, their girlfriends, grow increasingly depressing even though the film never loses its glittery surface of sexual intrigue. Jude Law is playing Alfie once again and he's charming, but it's nothing new. Clive Owen with his smoldering dark looks and quiet confidence is always convincing, but Julia Roberts never seems convinced of her character's nature. She continues to play innocent even when admitting guilt. Natalie Portman is quite fine, giving a subtle sweetness to her character even when she is doing her stripper routines. The challenge for the viewer is in caring enough about these four to care about characters who seem so hellbent on hurting each other.

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