No Giggles For The New Goldie

If a thriller as crushingly predictable as "Sleeping with the Enemy" can be a big hit, there's no reason Deceived shouldn't be boffo. Audiences today seem to require only one thing from the genre--a few good screams--and this proficiently made thriller, set in the New York art world, delivers the requisite jolts. It doesn't, however, do much else. For a "psychological thriller" about a wife and mother (Goldie Hawn) who discovers that the man she's happily married to (John Heard) is not who she thinks he is, the psychology is awfully skimpy. The audience is one step ahead of the heroine at every stage: we are startled but never really surprised by anything that happens. More regrettably, Mary Agnes Donoghue's and Derek Saunders's script pivots on several glaring implausibilities, the most obvious being the careless misplacement of a valuable object by a villain who is otherwise uncannily fastidious in his deceptions.

Given these fundamental caveats, "Deceived" is diverting, if disposable, fun. Director Damian Harris knows how to keep an audience's attention. It's also notable that this Goldie Hawn film was made by Disney, which prides itself on rehabilitating the careers of slipping stars. Her performance is compelling but surprisingly solemn. Not once does she giggle, bat her eyes or play cute. "Deceived" may be remembered as phase one in the de-ditsification of Goldie.