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Two Girls And A Guy


Two Girls And A Guy

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Two Girls And A Guy, the latest film from James Toback (Fingers, The Pick-Up Artist) opens with a shot of two women (Heather Graham and Natasha Wagner) standing in a doorway. After one of them fends off the advances of a stereotypical cruising swinger, they strike up a conversation, only to discover that they are both waiting for the return of the boyfriend (Robert Downey Jr.) they unknowingly share. If this sounds like a clichéd comedy setup, don't worry, because nothing that follows is. That's not to say the film is an unqualified success; it's not: As Graham and Wagner gang up on Downey, some of the points seem too easy, some of the revelations practically announce themselves in advance, and there's never any sense of excitement or suspense as to where the whole thing is heading. But it still works, most of the time. Toback cleverly stages the film in a way that makes use of every inch of his single set. Though the dialogue is a bit too stagey at times, Wagner and Graham are both sharp in roles that seem to require expert improvisational skills, with Graham's deceptive, watery-eyed vulnerability serving her as well here as it did in Boogie Nights. It's Downey, however, who steals the movie, perhaps because he may be playing the ultimate Robert Downey Jr. role: a charming performer whose charisma hides a dark side, which itself lies atop a layer of vulnerability. Always adept at handling complex characters, Downey has been given a great one here, a confused Don Juan who may not know how to handle the women he professes to love, but worries obsessively about his mother. Though it's a flawed work, Downey's performance, along with some of the film's individual components, make Two Girls And A Guy worth seeing.