Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful. On second thought, go right ahead: The attractive quartet at the center of the blithely self-involved relationship comedy Trust the Man live lives of such comfortable, unoriginal neurosis that forbearance isn’t an option; how about pies in the face?
Rebecca (Julianne Moore), a famous actress, withholds sex from her husband, Tom (David Duchovny), a loving stay-at-home father to the couple’s two delightful children. Rebecca’s boyish brother, Tobey (Billy Crudup), refuses to commit to aspiring novelist Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal), his longtime girlfriend. Can these banal relationships between undifferentiated lovelies be saved? Spoiler: Sure. But how to pad the waiting time? Perhaps with Woody Allen’s oeuvre in mind, writer-director Bart Freundlich — himself married to Moore — offers Eva Mendes as a distraction for Crudup, James Le Gros as a comic foil for Gyllenhaal, Garry Shandling and Bob Balaban as ineffectual shrinks, and Ellen Barkin as a predatory lesbian publisher. Off on a maiden comedy adventure after his broody pieces The Myth of Fingerprints and World Traveler, he can’t resist a standard disastrous dinner-party set piece. And he throws in a stale psychobabble scene in which Tom attends a self-help meeting of sex addicts. But the wheel-spinning is evident in a story line that meanders from one swell Manhattan location to another, with little necessity. And, apparently, the actors had such a great time that one ending wasn’t enough. Trust me, this movie’s got many.