2007, Movie, R, 84 mins


Steve Buscemi's remake of murdered Dutch director Theo van Gogh's 2003 film about the tempestuous relationship between a veteran hard-news reporter and the hot young starlet he's assigned to profile is a showcase for Buscemi and Sienna Miller, but there's nothing more to it than meets the eye.

Pierre Peders (Buscemi) has spent his long career covering politics and international crises and resents the hell out of being assigned a puff piece about professional party girl Katya (Miller), vacuous star of B-movies and a Sex and the City-style TV series. That she's an hour late meeting him at a restaurant located only two blocks from her spacious SoHo loft only sours his temper further, and Pierre's ill-disguised contempt for her prompts Katya to call the whole thing off after only a few minutes. But then Pierre gets banged up in a fender bender — the cabbie was too busy gawking at Katya to see the truck stopped right in front of him — and Katya relents: She takes Pierre to her place and rustles up some first-aid supplies and a drink. As Pierre knocks back some scotch and Katya swills red wine, apologies are offered and the interview is back on track. Katya alternates between flirtatious cooing and ignoring Pierre to take serial phone calls from her boyfriend and various gal pals. Pierre seethes — there's a hot political story breaking in D.C. and he's stuck playing truth or dare with a flighty TV tartlet — and surreptitiously sneaks a peak at Katya's computer diary, which contains some promising hints that if he can just stay the course, there's juicy dirt to be had. And then the mind games really start.

Van Gogh himself — who wanted to remake his film in English — probably couldn't have made more of it than Buscemi does, though his variation on a theme lacks the in-joke quality of Van Gogh's version, a vehicle for actor Pierre Bokma and Katja Schuurman (star of Dutch TV's Coastal: Sun, Sea, Sex and Skimpy Clothes) that was shot entirely in Schuurman's Amsterdam apartment (Buscemi gives her a tiny cameo in the remake). In the end, sharp writing and terrific performances can't compensate for the fact that the back-and-forth between a sour scribe and a manipulative celebrity doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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