The inside-Hollywood dramedy "Trust Me" contains so much terrific writing, acting and observation that it becomes a bit easier to forgive writer-director-star
Gregg is a deft, busy actor perhaps best known these days for playing Marvel's Agent Phil Coulson on TV's
"Trust Me" spends a few roller coaster days with Howard Holloway (Gregg), a former child-actor-turned-kids'-talent-agent who happens upon a last-ditch opportunity to save his sinking career. Howard's endgame: to represent Tinseltown newcomer Lydia (Saxon Sharbino, great), a precocious but genuinely talented 13-year-old up for the lead in a "Twilight"-type movie franchise.
Even with a lifetime's worth of tricks up his sleeve, can the nervy Howard successfully close Lydia's potentially rich deal while swimming with sharks such as steely film producer Agnes (
Then there's Lydia's boozy, hostile father, Ray (Paul Sparks). He's a loose cannon with fuzzy intentions who gets caught up in a table-turning scheme that threatens Lydia's big break — and sets Howard's moral compass spinning. Unfortunately, this noirish, fence-swinging twist proves contrived and confusing and sends the picture into less satisfying territory.
Still, Gregg, who adapted and directed the 2008 black comedy "
MPAA rating: R for language.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.