First, we must look back in wonder: In what kind of sick world can Amanda Seyfried be cast in a "plain-friend-to-the-hottie" role? (Sure, it was just Jennifer's Body, but still.) In this film, as Chloe, she displays the kind of ridiculous beauty that only comes to you for a couple of blessed years in your 20s: milky smooth skin, lips like some kind of a juicy berry from another planet, and breasts that are visible from behind and somehow still buoyant. But it must be said, too, that Julianne Moore (who also has a couple of nude scenes in Chloe) also has a body out of a fantasy: tight, pert, and decorated with a constellation of freckles. Chloe is about what happens when those bodies smash together.

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Moore plays Catherine Stewart, a Toronto gynecologist who suspects her husband, David (Liam Neeson), of cheating on her. She hires a prostitute named Chloe (Seyfried) to seduce him and report back on what happens. It's the kind of plot that only happens in erotic thrillers, and the Stewarts are the kind of upscale yuppies who live in insanely expensive modern houses that are made mostly out of glass in order to beat the audience over the head with a metaphor.

This is an Atom Egoyan film, which means the pacing is deliberate (or, if you're the impatient sort, molasses-slow), the cinematography is gorgeous (Toronto looks worldly and seductive), and the actors (especially Seyfried and Moore) do great, understated work. Chloe is adrift in the script department, though. We're torn between the lurid (some nude shots of Chloe's otherworldly body, some hints at a showy mental illness in one of the main characters) and the stately (tender scenes between Moore and Neeson that paint a complex marriage). It's not a lark of a sexy movie, but neither does it have the gravitas to be taken completely seriously. recommended