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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Where the Truth Lies (2005)

"Having to be a nice guy is the toughest job in the world."
- Lanny (Kevin Bacon)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: February 28, 2006

Stars: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman
Other Stars: David Hayman, Rachel Blanchard, Maury Chaykin, Kristin Adams
Director: Atom Egoyan

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexually explicit content, adult themes)
Run Time: 01h:47m:18s
Release Date: February 28, 2006
UPC: 043396138988
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B-BB- D+

DVD Review

We'll never know just what it was like to be at the center of the hurricane that was the nightclub tandem of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis—the former has passed on, and in his lifetime he told no tales anyway; and even the latter's recent memoir of those years, Dean & Me, is varnished with nostalgia. Where The Truth Lies fictionalizes these circumstances, giving the filmmakers license to speculate wildly, and to create up historical instances out of whole cloth, but the most fun in the film is when we're given a look at the life—the boys dripping cool, the women swooning and eager to come up to their hotel rooms, the money coming in hand over fist. The story itself is at best a convenient excuse, and more often a clumsy inconvenience—it's not a sharp movie, but it's got some flashes of inspiration.

The tale follows the lives of the pairing of Vince Collins, an English crooner, with Lanny Morris, an American comic—individually they're talented, but when they're working as a duo, it's magic time. Actually, one of the funny things about the movie is that Vince and Lanny's nightclub act seems a little rough around the edges—as with the early club appearances by Jerry and Dean, there's a sense that these early gigs have been romanticized, and that they were funny, but were hardly the most hilarious thing since Aristophanes was cutting up back in the day. Vince is played by Colin Firth, who's wonderful at conveying the creepy, crazed loneliness just below the surface of the performer's calculated cool—he's never been an actor afraid to explore the darkness, and it works terrifically well here. But even better is Kevin Bacon as Lanny—it's like a jolt of electricity goes through him when he's on stage, or on the hunt to persuade the pretty young thing he's just met to sleep with him, and at all other times he's got the dead dangerous eyes of a shark. (The only small quibble with this piece of casting: Lanny is Jewish, and the performers encounter an anti-Semitic heckler. Bacon is great here, but the Pope would make a more convincing Jew—come on, the guy's very surname is traif.)

The story cuts back and forth in time, between 1957, with Lanny and Vince, at the apex of their fame, hosting a telethon for polio, and 1972, when an intrepid (and not incidentally, very cute) young journalist is trying to get the partners, who have since split, to tell all about the worst night of their professional lives. After the 1957 telethon in Miami, the fellows flew to Atlantic City, where the dead body of a room-service waitress was discovered drowned in the bathtub of their hotel suite. Alison Lohman plays Karen, the reporter on the case—part of the problem is that she's a whole lot less interesting than either Lanny or Vince, and part of the problem is that she's asked to shoulder far too much of the load of the story. Her startup magazine is offering Vince $1 million to deliver the goods; she learns that Lanny has his own tell-all memoir the works, and he even gives her a peek at it, in an effort to bigfoot her book. But publishing inside baseball isn't all that much fun, really, and the movie also leans heavily on a couple of improbably coincidences, which lack the obligatory payoff. Still, there's plenty of luridness to go around, especially with both of the guys popping uppers and downers like Tic Tacs, and seeing Karen discover that her adolescent crush in person is a pig, a dirty old man.

But director Atom Egoyan invests all of the material with style, even wallowing in the more sordid aspects of the story—note the titillating promise of this being an unrated edition—and aside from some gratuitous nudity, there are some visual delights here. These include the trappings of a first class Pan Am flight circa 1972, with flight attendants in perky little hats chirpily installing foldaway tables for dinner, and extended scenes in Vince's Hollywood Hills home, a Neutra-designed glass-encased cave overlooking the city in all its glory. These don't make up for the fact that the tension in the narrative sags or doesn't hold your interest, but it does capture a sense of the lush tackiness that's characteristic of so much of show business.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: A few imperfections are evident, but overall a reasonable and careful transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The balance seems to be off on occasion—part of the problem is the high pitch and relative reediness of Lohman's voice, though perhaps it's also an eagerness to see and hear more of the boys' nightclub act.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Dying Gaul, The Warrior, The Tenants, London, Chasing Ghosts, End Game, Memory of a Killer
7 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There's nothing too revelatory in any of the deleted scenes, some of which are as short as 18 seconds, though the Freudian stuff gets laid on a little thick in one of them, which even carries its own title: The Father Theme. The only other extra is a brief making-of featurette (05m:42s), an assembly of footage of Egoyan on the set, setting up shots, and providing some insight into some of the tricks of the trade.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Alison Lohman is at the center of this story, and she doesn't really have the gravitas to move it along—the picture is intermittently entertaining, though, thanks to some sinuous work from Atom Egoyan, and memorable performances by Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon.


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