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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

  Directed by: George Clooney
Written by: Chuck Barris, Charlie Kaufman
Starring: Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Sam Rockwell
Links: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Based on True Story

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

"Doesn't live up to its potential" - a review by pearly

Ahh, the curse of the movie-after-the-one-you-really-liked. This is the screenplay that Charlie Kaufman wrote after Adaptation (2002) (or, at least, it was the movie written by him that was next to be released). Big things were expected by this little black duck. Big, huge, mind-blowingly awesome, wonderful, fantastic things. Plus, there is the fact that it's George Clooney's directorial debut - so, if I'm fickle (which I'm not really), he has this one big chance to get the thumbs up, or to blow it.

From the previews, it was clear that you would be foolish to expect anything like the oddballness of Adaptation from this. Again, it's an adaptation of a book, but this time, the book is based on (supposedly) real life events - the life of the book's author Chuck Barris, to be exact - and there is an easier foothold for Kaufman to base a script on. And so, the movie that results is a lot more straight down the line than Kaufman's previous efforts (the already-mentioned-a-number-of-times Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich (1999), for example). To a certain extent, this disappointed me. In a world where every movie is like every other movie, Kaufman's scripts stood out. But, I suppose you can now say that at least not every Kaufman movie is like every other Kaufman movie.

But enough about him. Back onto the movie. Barris was, during the day, a TV show guy, producing such quality television as The Gong Show. By night, he was a CIA hitman. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind tells his fantastical life story.

Sam Rockwell plays Barris well, and not just because of his amazing likeness to the real Barris. The rest of the cast is filled out by Drew Barrymore (Barris' girlfriend), George Clooney (his "boss" at the CIA, if you could call it that), and Julia Roberts (the gal he falls for in his secret life). Rockwell is really the stand-out cast member though, with Barrymore being adequate, Clooney not doing much (not even his supposed good looks can bolster him up, as all I could see was moustache), and Roberts' outfits doing more to give her character life than the person under the hats did. The cameos by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were great - not because of their performances as such, but because it was a great excuse for a cameo (they play contestants on The Dating Game).

Barris, or at the very least the Barris of his autobiography, is a very interesting character, and it's therefore disappointing that Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is not a better movie. Perhaps I had my expectations set way too high, but it just seemed that something, some sort of charm, was missing from this movie. It didn't grab you in and hold your interest; it just went along its way until it ended. Kinda like this review, really.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 26 Aug 2003

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