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film review

There are eight million film-noir melodramas in the naked city, and of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Adrien Brody walked into this one. That's right, Manhattan Night is a hard-boiled mystery of the Bogart kind, with Brody as a burned-out journalist whose investigative impulses are stuck to him like gum to a shoe. His name is Porter Wren. (I'm not making that up – Colin Harrison did, in his novel Manhattan Nocturne, from which Brian DeCubellis has adapted his first feature.) Brody plays opposite Yvonne Strahovski, whose femme fatale is less like Lauren Bacall and more like Sharon Stone. Unfortunately, Strahovski's flat portrayal lacks the basic instincts of Stone, though she does uncross her legs, and that is central to the curve-balling, sex-tape plot. As one of the film's producers, Brody has cast himself well in the role of a pulp-novel narrator and muckraking, malnourished protagonist. But director DeCubellis is frightfully beholden to the tropes of the genre, and the premise (involving blackmail, strange dares and an inexplicable horse story) is just not credible. Say goodnight, Manhattan. (14A) Brad Wheeler