shadow

'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.

Barry Wetcher/Open Road Films/AP
Rooney Mara stars in 'Side Effects.'

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.)

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.