Made in: USA
Language: English
Director: Marcel Langenegger
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Vanessa Williams, Maggie Q, Natasha Henstridge, Charlotte Rampling
Year: 2008

Synopsis: Unassuming but highly skilled accountant Jonathan McQuarrie (Ewan McGregor) slaves away at his job, auditing big name law firms in New York City. While pushing paper late one night, he meets a slick, hotshot attorney named Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman). Wyatt and Jonathan start talking, and then they start smoking weed on the building's rooftop.

Action movie fans will finally get to see what it looks like when Wolverine from X-Men and Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars get high together. And by the time you get through the rest of the movie, you'll have the feeling that the weed was probably real, and that the others involved in making this film were probably using it too.

Anyway, Wolverine - I mean, Wyatt - begins taking the bashful Jonathan to all of Manhattan's hot spots. Then one day, Wyatt leaves on a business trip to London. But just before he goes, the two swap cell phones by mistake.

Jonathan begins answering Wyatt's phone (thinking Wyatt will call once he's discovered the mix-up), but on most occasions, the young accountant gets calls from anonymous women asking to rendezvous at expensive hotels.

Out of curiosity, Jonathan meets up with them and discovers that the women are members of a secretive group known as the List (of which Wyatt is a member). Members of the List are wealthy, attractive, and lonely singles who regularly meet each other for anonymous sexual encounters after work (which, I suppose, would give a whole new meaning to the term "Hump Day").

Members of the List are forbidden from knowing one another's true identities and discussing their real lives.

At first, Jonathan enjoys the opportunity to sleep with multiple women. But one night, he finds himself drawn to a particular lady whose name he never learns (played by Vanessa Williams). He's seen her before on the subway, and knows that her name begins with the letter "S." But during one of their encounters, Jonathan is attacked, knocked unconscious, and when he wakes up, S has disappeared.

With the police unable to help, Jonathan soon learns that he's become a pawn in an elaborate, twisted scheme involving identity theft, murder, and of all things, a stolen tennis racquet.

The Good: Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, and Vanessa Williams do a decent job and the dialog's all right. It's great to see such well-known actors together in one movie. Director Marcel Langenegger also gives Deception a foreign, European look even though the film was shot in the US. The scenes in Spain looked nice, too.

The Bad: But overall, Deception is pretty bland. The thrills aren't all that exciting, the plot holes are distracting (how do you shoot someone in Madrid in broad daylight without anyone noticing?), and many of the turning points are as predictable as they are implausible. Although the cast is good, their characters are too shallow.

The movie really starts to fall apart at the end. And it seems as if everyone suddenly lost interest in filming and decided to do something else (like smoke up and look at squirrels) instead.

The idea of the List is intriguing, and is ripe for social commentary on aspects of big city living. But instead, the sexual matter of Deception is reduced to "softcore porn-like" shots. I have a feeling that they were used more as bait in order to get audiences to sit through the rest of the story.

And although Charlotte Rampling, who plays an older Wall Street high-roller, is a very good actress, seeing her in the buff was more disturbing than being subject to graphic violence (and probably less safe than looking straight into a welding torch). And the many shots of Ewan McGregor in his tighty-whities weren't all that appetizing, either.

Who would like this movie: I don't know. It's not downright awful, but it's no masterpiece, either. Sections of the premise have potential, but they're the cinematic equivalent of dropped touchdown passes. Those hoping to see a solid but little-known thriller with great actors will be greatly disappointed. I'm sure some of you have never heard of Deception, and unfortunately, there's a good reason why.

(2 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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