Claire (played by Julia Roberts) is a CIA agent, while Ray (played by Clive Owen) is a MI6 agent. They meet for the first time in Dubai five years behind present time, and Claire steals classified documents from him, while he tries to seduce her, clearly not knowing her real identity.
Cut to present time, Equikorm and Burkett & Randle are shown to be 2 major cosmetic giants, each vying desperately to get the others secrets. Claire is working as an Equikorm agent in Burkett and Randle, and at an Equikorm event, she meets Ray who is working for Equikorm. After a little back and forth between them, it turns out that Ray is Claire’s handler, as he has taken to working with Equikorm.
The movie flashes back to three years from present day where the two meet in Rome, and Claire gives the same speech she gives in Equikorm to Ray, in present day. As it so happens, we learn that the two did not “just meet” in present day, but were planning to con the company they are working for and sell its secrets to the highest bidder. With Claire working undercover at Burkett and Randle, for Equikorm she finds out that there is some major innovation and development underway at Burkett, which Claire manages to procure by setting up another employee at Burkett and Randle.
While in Equikorm, Claire accuses Ray of stealing company secrets and when he is searched, they do find the formula on him. However, apparently, it was Claire’s plan all along and the two of them were only putting on an act. This is revealed when Ray meets Claire at the airport. There, they both have a moment of total honesty and confession, where both feel like the other one is the only person who understands them. Claire and Ray attempt to steal the multi-million dollar idea for curing baldness from Burkett and Randle and sell it to a Swiss company for $35 million. While all this is happening, the Swiss however claim that the idea being sold to them is a fake and the formula is a fraud.
The movie cuts back to ten days ago, to the Equikorm event, where Claire and Ray are in their room practicing, how the other would react at the news that Ray was Claire’s new handler at the party. The entire scene is supposedly recorded by a hidden microphone found in their hotel room. The microphone was placed there by Tully, the CEO of Burkett and Randle, who is shown to have known all along that the two - Ray and Claire are in cahoots with each other.
Another supposed member of Equikorm was actually working for Burkett and the person who allegedly was caught stealing a revolutionary new formula after being set up by Claire had never existed. All this was done solely to make Equikorm reveal that they did in fact have a revolutionary product. Till the very end, Claire and Ray feel like they are both playing each other, by having switched an actual revolutionary formula from Burkett, with a fake. However, only at the very end, when Tully sends the two a bottle of champagne do the two realize that they have been played all along.
The movie is entertaining, but when there are way too many complexities in the plot, it keeps the viewer from truly immersing themselves in it. What is fun though is the constant paring of dialogues between Claire and Ray, while maintaining a straight face and trying to read each other’s minds. The amazing technology showcased also does its bit to help make the corporate espionage all the more believable and entertaining.