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Review: Barney's Version

Tale of a sad-sack chick magnet
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 24, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

The title narrator of Mordecai Richler's novel has the virtues of consistency and a compelling, comic voice — a TV producer with three blighted marriages and a murder rap behind him, he's a prick and proud of it. Richard Lewis's adaptation, however, leavens the nastiness with sentiment that's even more offensive. Paul Giamatti almost makes this version of Barney work with his rumpled, ironic melancholy. Despite his sad-sack appearance, he believably charms three lovelies: wife #1 (Rachelle Lefevre), who's a nutjob floozy; wife #2 (Minnie Driver), a nagging harridan; and wife #3 (Rosamund Pike), his true love. In short, Barney's no feminist: women are either psycho sluts, grasping bitches, or perfect saints. Told in flashbacks ranging from the bohemian pretensions of '70s Rome to the bourgeois crassness of today's Montreal, the film lacks any real feeling for period or locale. Leave it to Dustin Hoffman as Barney's dad to inject some mirth into the sad story.

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  Topics: Reviews , Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, movie,  More more >
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