THE HOAX gives Richard Gere one of his best roles as Clifford Irving, famous for concocting a fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. It’s an amusing 116 minutes of retro pop history, smoothly directed by Lasse Hallstrom, as Irving and partner-in-shame Dick Susskind (Alfred Molina having a good time) amaze each other with their chutzpah and frantically try to stay ahead of the truth and the law gaining on their pyramiding lies.
Changing his hairline and employing a fake nose, Gere dances through Irving’s palm-sweating bravado with more genuine energy that he’d displayed in years. Hard to lose interest with a supporting cast of Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis, Julie Delpy, Stanley Tucci and Eli Wallach. The 2006 comedy-drama took $25,000,000 to produce, but didn’t fare well, earning only $11,800,000. Irving was an adviser on the film, but the script ticked him off and he asked that his name be removed. He said it was inaccurate. Question is–should we believe Clifford Irving?