(out of 5)
Remember when Bob met Carol, Ted and Alice and couple-swapping was loads of fun? Well, now it’s time to grow up and face facts: love hurts and adultery sucks. Natalie Portman plays an emotionally detached stripper (what an interesting twist!) who falls in love with obituary writer Jude Law. They get together, but soon afterwards he falls in love with photographer Julia Roberts (who is exquisite) and she leaves dermatologist Clive Owen (who played Law’s role in the original play) for him. Of course, it’s not actually that simple when it plays out: through multiple two-person scenes, all of them scripted delicately by Patrick Marber (adapting his own stage work), these characters bounce to and from each other’s lives full of passion, whimsy and dire heartbreak. The experience of watching it all happen isn’t as riveting as it should be, but the actors shine so bright in their roles that you’ll be happy enough to stay in your seat for two hours. If not for that, then just enjoy how pretty they all are or the fact that you get to hear Julia talk about Jude making her come twice and Clive telling her (the Julia Roberts!) to ‘fuck off and die’. What nerve!
Directed by Mike Nichols
Screenplay by Patrick Marber, based on his play
Cinematography by Stephen Goldblatt
Production Design by Tim Hatley
Costume Design by Ann Roth