Sunday, May 19, 2024

Tribeca: Clark Gregg’s “Trust Me” Is A Modern Film Noir About Hollywood


I do love it when smart Hollywood actors get a chance to make a film about life in Tinseltown. It’s a little “inside” but always terribly amusing because you know they’ve got so much pent up anger. Not so much for Clark Gregg, who’s redirected the anger into a little gem of a film. Gregg is best known as the once and present husband on “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” I knew him from playing a sharp transvestite years and years ago in “The Adventures of Sebastian Cole.” Now he’s made a witty little satire about Hollywood that’s part Raymond Chandler and just laugh out loud funny.

“Trust Me” premiered last night at Tribeca with lots of interesting folks in the audience like Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollard. Gregg wrote and directed the film, and stars in it along with Amanda Peet, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Paul Sparks and Allison Janney. Saxon Sharbino is kind of amazing as a precocious plus 13 year old who could be the next Lindsay Lohan. (She’s a find, like Shailene Woodley or a Fanning.)

Sam Rockwell is executive producer and also has a funny secondary role as a weasely children’s agent in Hollywood, the nemesis of Gregg’s well meaning, long suffering sort of “Broadway Danny Rose.”

The conceit is that Gregg’s Howard is a former child actor, never made good, who is now a children’s talent agent. But all his clients leave him for Rockwell. You know that Howard just won’t cross the line to become as icky as Rockwell’s Aldo. And so, as he explains to Peet, he’s just been “wandering around this place” for 35 years “like a ghost.” When he has the chance to represent a fast rising 13 year old girl, it looks like he’s finally made it. But — oh, I don’t want to give it away.

Gregg, if you’ve seen him on “Christine” or anywhere else, is extremely verbal, very literate. He loves to talk. Howard does a lot of talking. But he’s always interesting, and so are the characters Gregg has placed around him. And we do get to see some of that Hollywood underbelly– wanna bes and has beens living in motel like apartment complexes, backstage fighting among agents and managers, etc. I’m sure Felicity Huffman’s production company chief is based on someone real. She reminded me of about 20 different barracudas. Well played.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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