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Movie Review: Barney's Version

Alternate Title: I'm Your Man

Story: I am a sucker for any film that uses a soundtrack that includes tunes by Leonard Cohen. That said, this was a strange and humorous ride through the emotional life of one, Barney Panofsky. The film weaves back and forth over 40 years in Barney's tumultuous journey. The film was deftly directed by Richard J. Lewis and written by Michael Konyves. It is based on the novel by Mordecai Richler.

Barney is not easy to love. He drinks too much, occasionally philanders, is moody and is not easy on the eye. However, by film's end it is hard not to wish that you knew someone like Barney.

The film takes place mostly in Montreal where Barney has a TV production company that essentially makes schlocky TV shows and earns oodles of cash. He falls madly in love with a woman he meets at his own wedding. His pursuit of this woman, his marriages and his passion is overtly entertaining. You cannot help but root for the guy even though he has many flaws.

This is a slice of life film that worked for me even though at times, some of the plot lines got hazy and seemed uneven. I recommend this film and if you are Jewish - you will like it even more.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z52vBL3zlc

Acting: Paul Giamatti as Barney is remarkable. He ages, not only visually, but his physical carriage also gets older. He is a gem. Dustin Hoffman as his father, Izzy is perfect. Rosamund Pike as third wife, Miriam is a very interesting actor and she played the part well. Minnie Driver as the second Mrs. P. was hysterical. Rachelle Lefevre, as the first Mrs P was fine. Scott Speedman as his friend Boogie was good as was the supporting cast including: Bruce Greenwood (Blair) and Macha Grenon (Solange).

Trivia: Rosamund Pike was friends with Chelsea Clinton while at Wadham College, Oxford. Not only are they both the same height (5' 9"), they are both fluent in German, and they are both only children. Mordecai Richler (1931 – 2001) was a Canadian author, screenwriter and essayist. His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz ( a great film), Barney's Version, and the Jacob Two-Two children's stories.

Predilection: I like Paul Giamatti

Critters: None

Food: Steak, fish and pasta.

Sex Spectrum: Some shtupping.

Blatant Product Placement: Dom Perignon, Mercedes.

Soundtrack: Terrific

Opening Titles: None - all titles are at the end.

Visual Art: The Panofsky's lived a good life and Montreal looks like a nice place to live.

Theater Audience: About 20 other people.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout

Predictability Level: I was a bit surprised near the end.

Tissue Usage: I welled up a bit.

Oscar Worthy: Apparently not even though Paul Giammati won a Golden Globe for this performance. Barney's Version is nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Makeup (Adrien Morot).

Big Screen or Rental: I always vote for the big screen.

Length: A bit over two hours.