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Trust Me

Year: 2013
Production Co: Unified Pictures
Director: Clark Gregg
Writer: Clark Gregg
Cast: Clark Gregg, Allison Janney, Felicity Huffman, Saxon Sharbino, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet, William H Macy

Kudos first of all to Clark Gregg for doing stuff like this film and Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing . Like many others he's been a jobbing actor for decades. Unlike many others he got an iconic role in one of the biggest entertainment franchises ever – as SHIELD agent Coulson in the Marvel universe. But he's apparently trying to drive his success into an interesting career rather than just cash Disney's cheques and rest on his laurels.

Trust Me – his second films as a writer/director (after 2008's Choke) – is the story of a former child star turned child star agent, Howard (Gregg). Down on his luck, not quote brave enough to ask his hot neighbour (Peet) out and constantly sideswiped by slimy rival Aldo (Sam Rockwell), Howard's not in a good place in his career.

After Aldo and scheming casting director Meg (Allison Janney) execute a plot to steal Howard's one promising young client, it doesn't seem like it could get any worse. But when he hears an apparent argument coming from another room at the studio he comes across the beautiful and supremely talented Lydia (Saxon Sharbino), a young ingénue with star quality all over her.

When Howard meets her again in the studio parking lot, he knows she's his only chance for redemption. She agrees to sign with him and everything seems set to rocket Howard to the top of the tree. He only has to navigate her skeptical redneck father, the inevitable attack by Aldo to steal yet another client and both Meg and hard-nosed studio head Agnes (Felicity Huffman) desperate to sign Lydia for a song even though everyone knows she's destined to be the next Kristen Stewart or Jennifer Lawrence.

The story itself isn't anything outstanding. There's a particularly dark moment that comes out of left field and doesn't seem to have a purpose other than to propel a narrative short on new ideas. There's also a surreal motif about growing wings and flying away that reappears here and there and shows up in the climax for no reason other than the movie doesn't seem very sure how to end.

Much better are the snarky soundbites about Hollywood business culture. Whether Gregg's writing from experience or not, Trust Me gives you the feeling a lot of the negotiation, back-stabbing and veiled threat is taken straight from the corridors of power.

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