Chloe (R) (96 min.) — Atom Egoyan delivers an amusingly hysterical remake of sorts of Poison Ivy, with a pretty young thing seducing an already unhappy family. Or not. Chloe tempts, teases and explicitly depicts the shenanigans with an air of formality best described as classy trash.
Chloe (Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia!) is a call girl who's just getting barely dressed for work as a "living, breathing, unflinching dream" for clients, who are usually men, "then I'll just disappear." Not this time.
Catherine (Julianne Moore) is a gynecologist married to a music professor named David (Liam Neeson), with gifted son Michael (Max Thieriot) in teen rebel mode. Catherine suspects that her husband is messing around when he doesn't show for a surprise birthday party; a suggestive text message on his phone from a student the next day supports the theory.
David is always flirty, calling it just friendly, so Catherine — who just met Chloe in a powder room sob session — figures out the young woman's occupation and proposes a deal. She'll pay Chloe to approach David and see how he reacts. One meeting becomes two, and a smile becomes something intimate, which Chloe describes to Catherine in graphic detail.
It's obvious early that Chloe has something going on behind those saucer eyes, especially when they're cast at Catherine, who's getting vaguely turned on by the attention. Egoyan loves toying with erotic neurosis, with sensual violins intended to stoke tension but bordering on comic relief. The movie maintains its posture of mystery long after the solution is evident, and the best suggestion is to just smirk with the flow.
Moore does a nice job of conveying Catherine's wilting trust and her growing fascination with a hooker. Her nude sex scene with Seyfried must be considered the highlight of this voyeuristic film, if not her career. Seyfried's immodesty becomes so routine that frat boys will probably use the DVD for drinking games. Mamma mia, indeed. B-
Steve Persall, Times film critic