A man lost in sales and a dead-end life in suburbia finds his way out through an unlikely discovery: music. In DUETS, Paul Giamatti stars as Todd Woods, just an average fellow who walks out of his own life. The non-smoker with the charmingly crooked grin goes out for a pack of cigarettes one evening after a particularly miserable business trip and a completely unappreciative family. The world of competitive karaoke finds him in a roundabout sort of a way.
Joining Giamatti on a trip that takes them all across the country are several well-known names: Maria Bello, Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow, to name just a few. They all sing, in hopes of winning the big "purse," and they all have their own personal stories that gradually unfold throughout the journey.
In this film, music truly is the great equalizer that brings them all together - an ex-con, an underachiever, a self-proclaimed achiever who is just as lost as all the rest, a player, and the salesman. Together, they bring unusual flavor and flair to their respective music.
Familiar songs such as "Try A Little Tenderness" and "Cruisin'" are amazing; what is incredible is that the actors all do their own singing. Giamatti belts out "Hello, It's Me" with enthusiasm. His duet with Andre Braugher evokes laughter - and possibly tears along with the laughter. Maria Bello's rendition of "I Can't Make You Love Me" is heartbreakingly honest, just like her portrayal of her character, Suzie Loomis. The a cappella piece, though, is what really shines, taking the whole show.
The energy and integrity of the story should not be missed, but with the music, the whole thing is golden. Directed by Bruce Paltrow, DUETS really is a must-see - and a must-hear, if only for the sheer joy of the music.
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