[MOVIE REVIEW]He’ll either murder you or set you up on a date

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[MOVIE REVIEW]He’ll either murder you or set you up on a date

One of Hollywood’s most handsome and eligible bachelors, George Clooney, has delivered a film that leaves audiences thinking.
Clooney’s directorial debut, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” is a black comedy based on the autobiography of Chuck Barris, the creator of wacky yet brilliantly hilarious game shows of the 1960’s and ’70’s such as “The Dating Game,” “The Gong Show” and “The Newlywed Game.” In his autobiography, Mr. Barris makes the rather specious claim that his job description consisted of far more than just “gong”-ing amateur performers off the stage; he says he lived a double life as an assassin for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
The film opens in a quiet hotel room, where Mr. Barris is questioning his worth as a human being. Flash back to the unfolding of his two-faced life, beginning from the unscrupulous days of his youth. One day, Mr. Barris, who has no family or relatives ― making him perfect for a job as a government assassin ― is visited by a secret agent with the CIA, and his adventure begins.
As an assassin and a game show host, Mr. Barris masterfully multi-tasks, in one instance snuffing out enemies of his government while casually chaperoning two game show winners on their vacation in Helsinki.
If the storyline seems too far-fetched from the get-go, resist giving up on the film, because the best part is meeting the film’s delicious cast. Stars who direct often can’t resist putting themselves onscreen, and “Confessions” is no exception. Mr. Clooney pops up as the icy supervisor for Mr. Barris’ CIA missions, continuously handing him new “assignments.”
A handful of other popular Hollywood figures show up. Julia Roberts is Patricia Watson, a mysterious and sexy contact for Mr. Barris. During a broadcast of “The Dating Game”, an anonymous Bachelor No. 3 is picked over Bachelor No. 1 (Brad Pitt) and Bachelor No. 2 (Matt Damon). And Drew Barrymore plays Mr. Barris’s pure-hearted on-again, off-again girlfriend, Penny, who provides him with the kind of love and support an assassin-cum-game show host needs. The only complaint is that Penny’s appearances are a bit too sporadic; but then, why be predictable if you are dating a hired CIA assassin?
The film, adapted from Mr. Barris’ autobiography by screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (“Adaptation”), further bends reality by splicing in talking-head commentary from real-life Barris associates, such as Dick Clark.
It goes without saying that relationships aren’t the only abnormal things in this movie. In fact, this improbable movie might make the more “sane” viewer a bit frustrated. But it will have everyone ruminating on what it really means to be “normal.” It may also inspire several career moves.

“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”
Comedy / English
113 min.
Opens today

by Sunny Park
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