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Though he doesn't qualify as a minimalist, Atom Egoyan tends to score when his obsessions are most concentrated (Calendar, Exotica) or, failing that, when his source material seems amenable to him (The Sweet Hereafter). Adapting a Rupert Holmes novel about the dirty secrets of an American showbiz team, loosely based on Martin and Lewis and humorlessly played by Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon, Egoyan seems both out of his element and out of control, and the results are unsatisfying and gratuitously unpleasant. Alison Lohman isn't very convincing as the reporter who's trying to dredge up some dirt on the entertainers, and the elaborate flashback structure can't hide the fact that the story never fully comes to life. 107 min.

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