‘Trust the Man’ – Bart Freundlich (2006)

This is a smart romantic comedy set in New York following the escapades of two couples: a successful actress Rebecca (Julianne Moore), her house husband Tom (David Duchovny), her slobby younger brother Tobey (Billy Crudup) and his girlfriend Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Amidst infidelity, careers and children, they soon realise that love doesn?t always run as smoothly as they imagined it would.

So here is the perfect, cute, American family. Tom and Rebecca have two adorable children and her successful acting career to keep them in nappies. Unfortunately Tom is one bored and frustrated house husband and before long his head is turned by a yummy mummy at the school gates. Meanwhile Tobey is more in love with his car than his girlfriend and literally runs a mile at any mention of marriage and children.

After the ladies kick their men to the kerb, all four characters have to find out what it is they really want. And it is very funny watching them try. After a series of unsuccessful attempts at forming other relationships, it is clear that this dysfunctional lot are better off together. David Duchovny is surprisingly funny as a jock and sex addict and his group therapy session is hilarious. Surrounded by other ?sexual deviants? he creates his own fetish, and it has quite a lot to do with deli meats.

Tobey on the other hand has an unhealthy obsession with death and his therapist (played by the superb Garry Shandling) despairs of him. Billy Crudup is in 100% loveable fool mode in this role and shows that he can flex his muscles in comedy as well as in drama. His various scraps with Elaine?s boring new boyfriend Goran are especially funny, namely a scene where he shoves him into a pot plant.

Before Elaine finds the awful Goran she goes through several bad experiences and ?gross out? moments as she encounters an over zealous musician that Rebecca has ?recommended? and is groped by a female publisher who she idolises. There is no doubt that Gyllenhaal is a very adaptable actress and has a natural awkwardness which is appealing.

‘Trust the Man’ seemed to swerve towards a homage to ‘When Harry met Sally’ at times. With frequent New York scenery shots and some therapy scenes that didn?t seem to integrate into the main plot ; the film almost suffers as a result. Thankfully, it survived this association and benefited from a tight running time, laugh out loud scenes and some strong performances from actors not usually associated with the genre.