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A.J.'s Rating: 1 Star - and a vote of 'No Confidence'
Directed By:  James Foley
Written By:  Doug Jung
Starring:   Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti,
Donal Logue, Luis Guzmán, Brian Van Holt, Franky G, Morris Chestnut, Robert Forster
Rated:  R (language, violence and sexuality/nudity)
Running Time:  98 Min.
    Okay, it goes something like this:  We start with a really cool idea about grifters, con-artists, you know, confidence men.  It's the hot genre, sure-fire box-office bucks!  Can you say 'Ocean's 11'?  Great, then we'll cast some good character actors, guys you've seen before, even though few people know their names.  Right, like Paul Giamatti.  We'll also need a skirt, an actress working to change her goodie-goodie image.  Rachel Weisz?  Excellent!  All we need now is one bonafide, bigger-than-life Hollywood legend.  DeNiro's too busy... Al Pacino?  No, we aren't that desperate... wait, I'll bet Dustin Hoffman will do it if we really suck up to him... Houston, the ego has landed!  All right, here's the kicker.  We have the elements.  Now, let's put them all in a movie that's almost inconceivably dull.  Nothing of interest will happen in any way!  The audience will never know what hit them!  It'll be incredibly, triumphantly lame!  (ah, the misguided dreams of the Hollywood studio executive)
    Holy cow!  How the heck did this happen?!  A boring crime-caper flick?!  Believe it or not, Confidence offers absolutely no imagination, style, action, or fun.  In fact, this movie only barely qualifies as entertainment, since it never bothers to give us any reason to care about its story or its characters.
    It isn't that Confidence insults the audience, it's that it completely ignores the audience.  And, to make matters worse, it thinks it's being clever! As with other recent con-artist movies, it ends with one of those tidy little recaps, to show us all 'how they did it', even though it was already painfully obvious to everyone in the theatre.  Well, obvious to everyone except, perhaps, those who fell asleep during the film.  Even the actors seemed to have that vacant, 'How did I get roped into this?' look in their eyes.  It's because you all wanted to work with Dustin Hoffman, you fools! 
    As far as directing is concerned, Confidence joins the rest of director James Foley's many other technically competent, yet unremarkable works.  Visually, it lies somewhere between Glengarry Glen Ross and Who's That Girl?, but with even less flair.  Actually, that's not really fair to say.  My apologies to Madonna.
    So, take my advice.  Don't get played like I was.  Don't let the suits trick you into falling for this scam.  Confidence is a lousy game. 
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Review published
April 30, 2003
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