Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies will lure some adults with its nudity and sexual content, but can't cover up what is a rather flat retelling of a 2003 potboiler by Rupert Holmes.
The director of The Sweet Hereafter brings a stream-of-consciousness to the proceedings that never really gets the mood down the way it should as it flashes back from 1972 to 1957.
Alison Lohman (Matchstick Men, White Oleander) as Karen O'Connor is writing a book about her heroes Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth). Morris and Collins were a 50's variety show team in the ilk of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis with plenty of roguish charm and goofiness to burn. Morris is the American and Collins a Brit.
The whodunit of Egoyan's uneven narrative concerns Karen's search into the hosting duo's breakup and the death of a young woman (Rachel Blanchard). Her body was found in a Miami hotel suite bathroom in 1957. She'll have a platonic, business relationship with Collins and an intimate one with Lanny. The details become more erotic and sleazy as Karen becomes more involved with each of these men.
Much of the action takes place in the present that is 1972 and Egoyan has a hard time making it unfold with little unpredictability or straying from genre conventions. The theme appears to touch on the perception of a celebrity in relation to one's personal life. Because the script isn't very layered the characters truly don't resonate as in his better dramatic, even explicit work.
There is nothing wrong with what Bacon and Firth produce for Egoyan when it comes to being a smooth operator and hedonistic aplomb. However, Lohman, so good in White Oleander, doesn't have the same maturity to make Karen a vital player in the revelations concerning Morris and Collins. The twenty-something actress still looks a good decade younger than her actual years and maybe Egoyan didn't give her the kind of support that Ridley Scott did.
Another controversial "menage a trois" scene with homoerotic overtones takes Where the Truth Lies into a danger zone for the MPAA. But, even with edgy music and haunting visuals within sharply crafted images from the 50's, it never is the cheap, thrilling contemporary B-movie one had hoped for.