(2002)3.5Perry SeibertGeorge Clooney shows the necessary skills to maintain a career as a director with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He has a quirky, unconventional eye that certainly suits the material and manages to be confident without being too showy -- he never loses sight of why he is going to the occasional visual extreme. Less surprisingly, Clooney has a sure hand with his actors. Sam Rockwell is outstanding as Barris, managing to make the audience relate to him both through his excellent evocation of the real man and through a natural charm that feels like a combination of character and actor. This is the kind of performance that gets an actor years of steady work. Drew Barrymore is her usual winning self as the long-suffering girlfriend of the main character, Clooney himself does subtle acting work, and Julia Roberts is genuinely interesting as the femme fatale. The only major fault lies in the story itself. While it is fun to guess if Barris' claim that he was a CIA agent is genuine, the film takes at face value that it did happen. That leads to a dramatically slow second half where the novelty has worn off and the story grows repetitive with Barris' cycle of assassination, game show work, relationship troubles, self-doubt, assassination (etc., etc., etc.), becoming a letdown after the hilarious rush of the film's first hour. That said, the film is never less than watchable, and any film that contains a womanizing main character being confronted about his existential doubt by a nude woman in a pool at the Playboy mansion grotto has its heart and sense of humor in the right place.
awards for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind on AllMovie