Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: Takashi Seida
Michael Sauter
September 12, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The producer of ”The Dating Game” and ”The Gong Show” was also a contract killer for the CIA. Or so Chuck Barris claimed in his ”unauthorized autobiography,” on which George Clooney’s directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, is based. But whether grand delusion or audacious put-on, Barris’ double life is compulsively watchable — especially during his missions abroad, with his mystery-lady contact (Julia Roberts). Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (”Adaptation”) has conceived the foreign intrigue as a sleek, sardonic spy spoof, and Clooney improves the joke by playing it deadpan straight. Still, the film goes a little flat at the end when you realize that they’ve never really gotten inside that so-called dangerous noggin. EXTRAS The banter between Clooney and cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel makes for an amusing (and informative) commentary; the deleted scenes that shouldn’t have been include Barris’ first botched hit and girlfriend Drew Barrymore’s suicide attempt — their inclusion might have helped ”Confessions” ring a little truer.

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