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With: Christian Slater, Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Ann Schultz, Christa Campbell, Robert Giardina, Al Madrigal, Kelly Hyde, Lochlyn Munro
Written by: Eric James
Directed by: Tibor Tak‡cs
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Running Time: 93
Date: 08/27/2009

Lies and Illusions (2009)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Despising 'Lies'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Twenty years after Heathers, I'm still a big Christian Slater fan (I interviewed him once, and found him to be a very nice guy). Lately, however, he has been the star of a series of forgettable, direct-to-video items. Two years ago, he gave a terrific performance in He Was a Quiet Man, which, had the film received better distribution, would have been a "comeback" for him. Too bad it wasn't, because now here comes Lies and Illusions, which brings us back to our regularly scheduled series of Slater films.

He plays Wes Wilson, a best-selling writer of a romantic advice book. He's successful and happy and just about to marry his true love, Samantha (Sarah Ann Schultz). Unfortunately, some thugs attack them both in a parking lot and drive away with her. A year later, she's presumed dead and Wes has inherited all her worldly things, including a safe deposit box. Oddly, he discovers an arsenal of weapons in a secret room in his house, and finds that those thugs, led by the coolly articulate Isaac (Cuba Gooding Jr.) are still after something.

The director here is Tibor Takács, who made the awful The Gate (1987) as well as the interesting I, Madman (1989); here he plows cluelessly through the many implausible plot twists, and he directs poor Slater to act hysterically throughout. At times, Wes turns tough guy and tries to fight, and at other times, he screams and makes jokes at an intolerable pitch. The women are aggravatingly one-dimensional, including Christa Campbell as Wes' rebound girlfriend. Oddly, only Oscar-winner Gooding, with his subdued, slightly annoyed tone, seems to fit here. Anchor Bay released the 2009 DVD, with a making-of featurette.

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