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Trust Me DVD Review

Trust Me (2014) movie poster Trust Me

Theatrical Release: June 6, 2014 / Running Time: 89 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Clark Gregg

Cast: Clark Gregg (Howard Holloway), Felicity Huffman (Agnes Dieter), Allison Janney (Meg Waldron), William H. Macy (Gary), Niecy Nash (Angie), Amanda Peet (Marcy Watkins), Sam Rockwell (Aldo Stankis), Molly Shannon (Janice Trilby), Saxon Sharbino (Lydia), Paul Sparks (Ray), Brian Gattas (Justin), Griffin Gluck (Phillip Trilby), Ben Bray (Roland), Jillian Armenante (Sandy)

Buy Trust Me from Amazon.com: DVD Instant Video

After nearly twenty years of picking up roles wherever he could, often on television, actor Clark Gregg seemed to have made it in film as a fixture of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You may not have remembered his character Agent Coulson from the first Iron Man,
but subsequent appearances in Iron Man 2 and Thor gave Gregg familiarity, stability, and recognizability that narrowly eluded him through a recurring spot on "The West Wing", minor roles in major films like The Usual Suspects, A.I., and We Were Soldiers, and even leading man status on "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

Then, spoiler alert to the few interested parties who haven't seen The Avengers but are reading this review: Gregg's Agent Coulson was killed off in the third biggest blockbuster of modern times. So much for being a constant in Hollywood's hottest ongoing franchise. Gregg has been able to reprise the role vocally on Disney XD's "Ultimate Spider-Man" animated series and in the flesh on ABC's live-action "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Film work hasn't slowed down for him, nor has it typecast him as government agents. Nonetheless, Gregg must have relished the opportunity to star in something longer than one of Marvel's One-Shot shorts.

Trust Me provides such an opportunity to Gregg, who also wrote, directed, and produced this independent comedy. It represents his third completed script, following the Robert Zemeckis-directed hit 2000 mystery What Lies Beneath and 2009's blink-and-miss Chuck Palahniuk adaptation Choke, which also served as Gregg's directorial debut.

In "Trust Me", Howard Holloway (Clark Gregg) tries to get the best deal possible for Lydia (Saxon Sharbino) and her father (Paul Sparks).

Gregg plays Howard Holloway, a seasoned, hardworking and struggling agent to child actors (which is what he himself was so long ago). We see him negotiate on behalf of his young clients and their "Momagers", only to have parts slip through their fingers and into the hands of established celebrities' younger siblings. The dejected clients often take their services to Aldo Stankis (Sam Rockwell), a rival agent with whose generous gifts Howard cannot compete.

We see such a scenario play out near the film's start, but cushioning the blow of losing another promising client is the interest that talented, precocious, and conscientious Lydia (Saxon Sharbino) shows in Howard. Before the day is done, Howard has picked up Lydia as a client and is on the verge of booking her the lead role in a much-anticipated period vampire trilogy to be directed by Ang Lee.

All seems to be looking up for Howard, who has been working out of a garage and driving an old, beat-up car. Lydia and her father (Paul Sparks) fend off advances from Stankis and get the little bit more they were looking for out of power producer Agnes Dieter (an oddly unrecognizable Felicity Huffman). Then, the film takes a weird, dark turn, as Howard suspects Lydia's father of sexually abusing her. Howard's plan to emancipate the 14-year-old budding actress for her safety jeopardizes the life-changing, career-making three-picture deal she has virtually signed.

Amanda Peet plays Marcy Watkins, Howard's neighbor and love interest. Like Howard, rival agent Aldo Stankis (Sam Rockwell) is typically found with Bluetooth in one ear and a stud earring on the other.

That late redirection transforms Trust Me from a tame R-rated unofficial remake of the 1993 Michael J. Fox comedy Life with Mikey into something darker and discomforting. It also kills much of the goodwill the film had earned from you. The twist taints what had up until then been a jaunty and appealing showbiz tale.
There was a touch of the cynicism you expect from an indie film about Hollywood, but a generally upbeat disposition with amusing mentions of real actors. Then, Gregg's script darkens and tries to inject some commentary about the predatory nature of the industry (you get the sense that Gregg isn't too upbeat about his post-Marvel prospects).

Not only is the depressing, rushed final act a drastic tonal shift from the preceding hour, it also baffles you with the perplexing paths it takes. It even tackily exploits the fatal drug overdose of "A Family Affair"'s Anissa Jones as a plot point. The final ten minutes are almost too terrible to believe and completely sour you on what had been an engaging if unspectacular story. Gregg's faults are a storyteller are plain to see, despite the noble acting efforts of him and the fairly impressive supporting cast he was able to assemble here. This nearly functions as two movies in one: the longer, an okay behind-the-scenes look at the movie business' machinations and the shorter, an atrocious condemnation of those same machinations. Not since the ludicrous left field ending of the US version of "Life on Mars" can I remember a climactic turn being so thoroughly disappointing and incompatible.

Trust Me hit DVD yesterday from Anchor Bay Entertainment after a June theatrical release too minor to even generate an official box office record.

Trust Me DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $22.99
Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

The DVD's 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is fine, though an independent film in standard definition is obviously not on par with a big budget one in high definition. Gregg is competent visually, but the settings of offices and hotel rooms don't really grab your eyes. The unremarkable Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, meanwhile, could easily be mistaken for plain 2.0 surround.

Trust Me's barebones DVD main menu reconfigures the elements of the film's little-seen poster art.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The disc opens with trailers for Small Time, All Is Bright, and Free Samples. Those menu-inaccessible previews are all there is in the way of bonus features here.

The main menu, the only one of the static selection screens accompanied by score, restores the cover art images to a design closer to the scarcely-used theatrical one-sheet.

No slipcover or inserts join the black Eco-Box keepcase.

The unexpected, bizarre ending warrants a look of shock like the one shown by star-writer-director-producer Clark Gregg. In her first reading of the top-secret script, Lydia (Saxon Sharbino) is easy to imagine as a period vampire.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

If I had turned off Trust Me at the one-hour mark, I'd have called it an agreeable showbiz comedy reminiscent of Life with Mikey, a movie I enjoy thoroughly. Instead, having finished the film, I can only scratch my head over its final half-hour, unable to prevent it from tainting the passable preceding acts. Here, Clark Gregg proves he's a serviceable leading man, but less qualified to write, direct, and produce. Few have seen this film and it might be in the interest of Gregg's behind-the-camera career to keep it that way.

Buy Trust Me from Amazon.com: DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Life with Mikey In a World... The TV Set Sunset Boulevard All Is Bright
New: Fading Gigolo Portlandia: Season Four Only Lovers Left Alive Ping Pong Summer Blended
Clark Gregg: Iron Man Thor Labor Day The New Adventures of Old Christine: The Complete Third Season Mr. Popper's Penguins
Clark Gregg (cont'd): Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 2 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer
Sam Rockwell: The Way, Way Back Everybody's Fine Gentlemen Broncos The Sitter
Amanda Peet: Please Give $5 a Day | Saxon Sharbino: I Spit on Your Grave (2010) | Allison Janney: Away We Go

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Reviewed August 27, 2014.



Text copyright 2014 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2014 Starz Digital, Unified Pictures, Savage Bunny, Bron Studios, Visionary Pictures, Amberdale Productions, Luma Pictures, Iam Entertainment, Radiant Film International,
and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.