Chloe (Review)

Atom Egoyan's sex thriller falls flat

Mar 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm

You couldn't hope for a higher caliber sexploitation movie than Chloe, even if the sex thriller falls flatter than a day-old quiche.

Atom Egoyan rekindles his lurking soft-core desires with a tawdry script by Eric Cressida Wilson, whose 2002 film Secretary transcended a cultural movement of sexual identity. Audiences will have no such luck with this formulaic suspense picture about sexual deception.

Julianne Moore’s Catherine Stewart is a successful Toronto doctor and wife to her well-liked college-professor husband David (Liam Neeson), who is loyal but also an inveterate flirt. David's failure to make it back to the couple's palatial modern home in time for his “surprise” birthday party sets Catherine's teeth on edge, believing that he’s carrying on an affair with one of his students.

Catherine makes the mistake of a lifetime when she hires local call girl Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) in an effort to discover if her husband can be provoked into cheating. Wilson's script sets up Chloe as the film's protagonist-apparent but backpedals around in a game of musical chairs that shifts focus among the hooker, the couple and even their romantically inclined teenaged son Michael (Max Thieriot).

Egoyan wants to titillate his audience, and he achieves his aim with an unexpected lesbian relationship that builds after Chloe seduces Catherine. Moore and Seyfried steam up the screen in the hottest lesbian coupling since Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve got busy in Tony Scott's 1983 vampire film The Hunger.

Chloe's evocative opening monologue, in which she expounds on her quicksilver ability to fall into any sexual stereotype role her client requires, proves to be a slithering red herring. As such, the film squanders its most valuable narrative asset. Grade: C-plus

Opens March 26. Check out theaters and show times, see more photos from the film and get theater details here.