A leaden faux-thriller that, given its inability to generate suspense or provide any nuanced commentary on its based-on-real-events concerns, eventually falls back on one-note domestic-drama uplift, Fair Game sleepily recounts the saga of Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts). A covert CIA agent, Plame was outted by the Bush White House in retaliation for her husband, ambassador Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), exposing the falsity of the administration’s claims on Niger uranium during the lead-up to the Iraq War. Given Penn’s participation, there’s no doubt where the movie’s politics lie. Yet far more frustrating than the preachiness of Jez and John-Henry Butterworth’s script is director Doug Liman’s transparent, lame attempts to create tension from a story that has none via his trademark, aesthetically empty handheld cinematography. Fair Game’s first half concentrates on establishing Plame as a super-capable secret agent woman, seen via her tricky spy work in the field and her efficient analytical skills at home in Washington, which are soon put to work verifying the government’s thin evidence for war. Despite Liman incessantly shaking and swinging his camera about, there’s no heat to these dull proceedings, a situation that doesn’t improve once the administration ignores Plame and Joe’s concerns and uses its “proof” as a reason for shock-and-awing Iraq. Shortly thereafter, the couple’s professional and personal lives are decimated by Scooter Libby’s (David Andrews) decision to expose Plame in the media as a spy, at which point the film lets loose its moral outrage. Such righteous anger, however, is so monotonous and black-and-white that it proves as creaky as the film’s dramatics, which – in spite of serviceable turns from its stars – involves people bluntly defining themselves, their circumstances and the issues at hand through awkward expository dialogue. Fair Game has all the excitement (and less of the depth) of a Wikipedia entry on the subject, right up to a third act that suddenly and unsuccessfully repositions the material as a paean to marital fortitude, and a finale that predictably allows Penn to indulge in soap-box proselytizing.