Picks and Pans Review: Trust the Man

updated 08/28/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/28/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal
BY JASON LYNCH
ROMANTIC COMEDY

The man who played The X-Files' Fox Mulder as Mr. Mom? It's an irresistible idea, promised by the engaging opening moments of Trust the Man. Having just quit his job as an advertising executive, Tom (Duchovny) now spends his days patrolling his family's New York City apartment and drolly supervising his son's potty training. It's bathroom humor that's actually—gasp!—funny.

Alas, it's also one of the only comic scenes in Trust the Man, which instead focuses on a pair of faltering long-term couples deciding whether to tough it out or cut bait. Tom and his actress wife, Rebecca (Moore), are in a sexless marriage, while Rebecca's self-absorbed brother (Crudup) would rather watch SportsCenter than settle down with his baby-minded girlfriend of seven years (Gyllenhaal).

Moore, who aces dramatic roles in her sleep but hasn't clicked in a comedy since 1998's The Big Lebowski, falters again here. (She can blame writer-director Bart Freundlich, her real-life husband.) The silly climax, set at the opening night of Moore's play, which appears to be the worst Broadway production since Kelsey Grammer's Macbeth, is embarrassing for all involved. (R)

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