Friday, April 4, 2008

"Flawless" isn't; neither is "Leatherheads"

Demi Moore probably will be hailed for understatement rather than fitness by those who see her in "Flawless," a movie that teams her with Michael Caine. Moore plays an American who works in London for a powerful diamond firm. Moore opens the movie under layers of make-up; she's an older woman who's telling the story of how her character came possess a stolen diamond, a gem that's roughly the size of an Easter egg. The rest of the story unfolds in flashback as we learn that Moore's Laura Quinn was a victim of a glass ceiling that kept her from rising in the ranks of the diamond firm and made her vulnerable to the entreaties of a shrewd janitor (Caine) with larceny in mind. The movie entices us into believing that Quinn is one smart but possibly vulnerable cookie, which surely means that there's a plot twist or two lurking and that she won't see them coming. Caine, who can play this kind of role in his sleep, doesn't: He gives a cagey performance as a man with a secret. Director Michael Radford does a competent job, but Moore -- who gives her character a mild British accent from years of living in London -- seems too restrained, and the whole affair winds up flying under the radar of sustained excitement.

If you don't count the unscreened horror movie "The Ruins" (and who does?), "Leatherheads" ranks as the big movie of the weekend. George Clooney directs and stars in a romantic comedy about the early days of professional football. If the movie had spent more time immersing in the rough-and-tumble of smash-mouth football and less time reiterating ploys from old-fashioned screwball comedies, it might have been more of a success. If you want to read a full review, check out the one I wrote for the Rocky Mountain News.

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