THIS smart, stylish spy thriller with a dash of romance is the perfect comeback for Hollywood’s sweetheart Julia Roberts who has been taking a cinematic back seat since becoming a mum.

Reuiting Roberts with Closer co-star Clive Owen, Duplicity is an enjoyable romp which twists and turns to the point where you’re not sure who to trust and who exactly is double-crossing who.

MI6 spook Ray (Owen) is seduced and outwitted by CIA honeytrapper Claire (Roberts) but their “spark” develops into a secret affair.

The pair decide to move into corporate espionage where they conspire to pull off the ultimate con job on their respective bosses at two rival multinational pharmaceutical corporations.

In this dog-eat-dog world nothing is out of bounds and their warring bosses – Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson) and Dick Garsik (Paul Giamatti) – let their petty jealousies control their behaviour even more than their desire to beat each other in business.

So when Garsik gets wind Tully has the formula for a new potentially multi-billion dollar product he scrambles his secret surveillance team into action to steal it for himself.

Writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has thrown all the right ingredients at Duplicity – the international locations, glamorous stars and hi-tech spy gadgetry are all there – but it is its razor-sharp script and stylish, almost retro, execution which gives it the edge.

Roberts and Owen make a believable on-screen pairing as they try to outwit each other in their slick private wordplay as well as in the industrial subterfuge stakes. Even as they fall in love – a secret they have to keep from their employers – they constantly test the trust boundaries which makes for an interesting courtship.

Owen makes a decent stab at this role which offers glimpses of the charisma he so often lacks and Roberts is at her movie star best.

Giamatti and Wilkinson are great as the warring drug company moguls whose petty little games and squabbling cost them millions. The only irritation, as the final neat little twist reveals, is the ultimate pointlessness of their behaviour.