Richard Gere ("Chicago"), with a prosthetic nose slightly altering his recognizable features, plays the writer-turned-con man, who convinces publishing firm McGraw-Hill that landed a series of interviews with Hughes that will lead to the definitive biography of the aviation guru.
The consistently underrated Gere plays Clifford with energy and playfulness that suggests the writer got a joyful charge out of pulling the wool over the country's eyes. Gere also has an amusing chemistry with Molina, and many of the film's best scenes revolve around the pair's friendly bantering.
But the film, entertaining and witty on the surface, frustratingly doesn't explore what made Clifford a pathological liar. William Wheeler's script not only denies Clifford a backstory, but more could have been made of how his dishonesty manifested itself in the affairs he carried on behind Edith's back.
By not analyzing Clifford's motivations, "The Hoax" settles for being hollow fun.