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Man About Town
DVD disk
02.27.2007 By: Scott Weinberg
Man About Town order
Director:
Mike Binder

Actors:
Ben Affleck
Rebecca Romijn
Gina Gershon

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A Hollywood agent has to deal with a cheating wife, a sickly father, a violent lowlife, and a client he wants really bad.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Fresh off the surprisingly solid THE UPSIDE OF ANGER, writer / director / actor Mike Binder turns around with a quick follow-up ... and one kinda wishes he hadn't bothered. Despite a potentially juicy concept and a large stable of colorful performers, MAN ABOUT TOWN is about as unpleasantly schizophrenic as a movie can be.

Affleck's character is, I think, supposed to be a sympathetic guy, but he's really just a spoiled jerk, which makes it tough to build much affection for the character. And while all of the guy's problems increase with every passing scene, nothing in the flick feels more like broad farce. The emotional scenes are entirely bereft of sincerity -- and the extra-silly stuff just sort of lies there on the screen. (A sequence involving a Chinatown chase is a real head-scratcher.)

As a satire, the movie fares even worse. A few stray swipes at The Hollywood Machine find their mark, but there's only so much humor to be mined from the shallowness and manipulation on display here. ("Big" gags include Affleck with creepy false teeth and Rebecca Romijn leaping across an office desk.) And when things slow down and "get serious," the movie becomes puddle-deep and irritating. The cast is not to blame; it's the half-baked and aimless screenplay.

THE EXTRAS
Visual Journaling is a standard 12-minute talking-head-fest in which Affleck, Stamos, Adam Goldberg, Gina Gershon, John Cleese and others talk about how great the movie is, how awesome Mike Binder is, and all that jazz. Talk to My Agent is a 3-minute piece in which some of the actors talk about ... agents.

Also included are nine deleted scenes, a blooper reel and some trailers.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Binder's made some really fine movies and some curiously weak ones; my opinion is that this one falls firmly in the latter group.
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