It wasn't too long after I caught most of the 1963 film Charade on TV late one night
before I learned of a remake in the works. Now as most people know, remake films usually aren't anywhere
near as decent or wonderful as their predecessors. This held true for The Time Machine and
the ridiculously stupid Mr. Deeds, while the Ocean's 11 proceeded to exceed all expectations.
However, in 2002, confused and misguided director Jonathan Demme decided it was time to remake
the Cary Grant / Audrey Hepburn classic Charade with none other than the frightened
yet decent Thandie Newton and the stale and wasted Mark Wahlberg. While no single actor today
could pull off the charisma and charm of Grant's characters, there aren't many who can create as memorable
a roll in this film either. And while Newton did a decent job in Hepburn's shoes, she completely
lacked the sweet and lovable spirit that Hepburn possessed. With that, let's take a look at this
cinematic mess, shall we?
What better way to kick off a 1963 Grant/Hepburn remake than with senseless nudity? The film
opens in a baggage car where the audience is immediately greeted by a woman's nearly completely bare
rear end and a side-view of her bare chest as she dresses apparently following a liaison with Charlie.
Completely pointless and ridiculously unnecessary, the film gets off to this rocky start and never really
recovers. From hand-held and nausea-inducing camera movements to misguided camera tricks in a pathetically
and pointless attempt at making it artsy, Demme doesn't just ruin the film he's tributing, he's desecrating it!
What made Charade work so well was the chemistry between Grant and Hepburn as well as a "who done it?"
plot and intriguing characters. What's offered in this remake some 39 years later is an assortment of
mediocre actors trying to make due with a poorly written script and a butchered rendition of the original story.
Demme took Charade, tossed out the slow character-building scenes, humor, and anything
that made sense at all, and haphazardly threw in a few characters and story changes that did nothing but
hurt the outcome. For instance, the flashback scenes were some of the most poorly produced pieces of film
I've seen to hit the big screen yet. Although I haven't seen it, from what I do know about it, it makes
the Blair Witch Project look like big budget filmmaking. To make matters worse, as if part of
a bad dream, a French vocalist suddenly appears IN the film while the music is playing as part
of the soundtrack and sings to the screen as if we were watching a music video. If you think that's
bad, well... it happens twice! As if it matters at this point, the violence in the film
is moderate. We see a prolonged shot of a person with blood on their face after being hit by a car
in what unfolds as a pretty stupid sequence. We later see some blood on a person's head as they lie
in an elevator and Joshua has some blood on his face that drips down the side of his head in the rain.
Language is thankfully mild with just 2 "s" words which when finally uttered feel sorely misplaced.
More senseless partial nudity occurs when we see Regina disrobe through a translucent bathroom drape and
we see the outline of her nude body briefly.
There's no sense going on any further as if you choose to see this film, you're in for
a complete waste of time. Please rent Charade instead of this film, but be warned
that there is some mild violence in that film, but that's all.
If you have any questions or comments about the film before you see it (if you
decide to), feel free to
- John DiBiase
Parental Guide: Brief Summary of Content
Sex/Nudity: The film opens in a train car
and we see a woman dressing apparently after having sex and we see her pulling pantyhose up onto her
mostly bare butt. As the camera pans up we see a brief glimpse of a side-view of her bare chest.
Regina wears revealing outfits almost exclusively throughout the movie including a tight-fitting
shirt and panties in one scene. In another scene we watch Regina getting into the shower
through a thin curtain and as she disrobes we see the shape of her nude body.
We see Jeanne in bed with a man when she gets a phone call that disrupts them, but we
don't know if they were sleeping or doing something else.
Vulgarity/Language: 2 "s" words, 1 "G-d," 1 "h*ll"
Alcohol/Drugs: Some characters have wine during the film.
Blood/Gore: We see a prolonged shot of a person's bloody face
after they've been hit by a car. Regina finds a body in an elevator with blood on the sides of their head.
We see blood on the side of Joshua's head which later runs down his face as he stands in the rain.
Violence: A person is killed on a train (not seen),
a person is hit by a car (the impact is not seen), A man fights another man, some people are held
at gun point.
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most
reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content
really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.