Chuck Barris is best known to most Americans as the guy who used to host The Gong Show. He was also the creator and producer of The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and a handful of other successful game shows in the 1960s and 1970s. But was he also a hired killer working with the CIA? That's the take-it-or-leave-it premise of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on the memoir of the same name by Chuck Barris. Barris (Sam Rockwell) grows up dreaming of success in show biz and winning the hearts of beautiful women, but early on, he meets with plenty of resistance from both women and the television industry, despite writing the hit tune "Palisades Park" and scoring a job with Dick Clark on American Bandstand. The 1960s proves more fortunate for Barris; he meets the love of his life, Penny (Drew Barrymore), and sells ABC on the idea of The Dating Game. However, after the show has made him wealthy and successful, Barris is approached by the mysterious Jim Byrd (George Clooney), a CIA agent who wants to recruit Barris as a covert operative. Barris finds the notion of playing spy games intriguing and agrees, but soon discovers what Byrd and his partners really want is for Barris to assassinate uncooperative figures around the world. Soon, Barris finds that his life has been all but taken over by Byrd and another CIA agent, the mysterious and sexy Patricia (Julia Roberts). As he hops the globe, killing people in the name of American security (using his status as a Dating Game chaperone as a cover), Barris learns that the KGB has discovered his not-so-little secret and that his own life is in great danger. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind marked the directorial debut of actor George Clooney, working from a screenplay adapted by Charlie Kaufman from Barris' book. Dick Clark, Dating Game host Jim Lange, frequent Gong Show panelist Jaye P. Morgan, and Gene Gene Patton appear as themselves.
by Mark Deming synopsis