'Side Effects' is a middling effort from director Steven Soderbergh

The plot in 'Side Effects' is part social commentary, part film noir, but the twists in the story are more ingenious than believable.

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    Rooney Mara stars in 'Side Effects.'
    Barry Wetcher/Open Road Films/AP
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Steven Soderbergh, who recently had a surprise hit with the male stripper movie “Magic Mike,” has followed it with “Side Effects,” a twisty thriller he claims will be his last feature film. (Don’t believe him.)

If so, he’s done worse – “The Girlfriend Experience” and “Contagion,” for example – but he’s also done better.

Rooney Mara plays Emily, a highly distraught woman whose addiction to anti-depressants encompasses a plot that is equal parts social commentary and lurid film noir. Nothing is quite what it seems in this film, which costars Jude Law as Emily’s pill-dispensing psychiatrist, Catherine Zeta-Jones as his rival and Emily’s former therapist, and Channing Tatum as Emily’s husband in what amounts to a glorified cameo. Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns maintain a tone of taut creepiness, but the plot’s double and triple crosses are more ingenious than believable. Grade: B- (Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence and language.)


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