‘Duplicity’ is a ton of fun despite Roberts

Duplicity, writer-director Tony Gilroy’s first movie since 2007’s Michael Clayton, takes all the boardroom intrigue of Clayton and adds a sense of humor. It isn’t hard to make a decent movie when Clive Owen and Tom Wilkinson are involved and Gilroy more than succeeds with the witty, enjoyable Duplicity.

Owen and Julia Roberts star as two former secret agents turned corporate. Employed by two rival multinational corporations, they team up to dupe both companies and make $40 million in the process.

Clive Owen is everything a leading man should be: charismatic, engaging and unbelievably sexy. Roberts, however, does not fare as well as her costar, choosing instead to pout and snipe her way through the film. Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti fare far better than Roberts, and their opening scene, a no-holds-barred fistfight on an airport tarmac, is the funniest bit in the film. Supporting players like the inimitable Denis O’Hare and Tom McCarthy also save Duplicity from being sunk by Roberts’ bad acting.

While the pacing may seem slow at times and the numerous flashbacks may be a bit confusing to some, Duplicity is simply a ton of fun. It may not appeal to mainstream audiences, but for those who are willing to invest some time and thought in the film, the payoff is estimable.

Rating: 3/4 stars