State And Main

Review Date:
Director: David Mamet
Writer: David Mamet
Producers: Sarah Green
Philip Seymour Hoffman
William H. Macy
Rebecca Pidgeon
A Hollywood production crew comes to a small town to film a movie starring a very popular actor and a whining starlet. The process becomes more difficult as the script constantly has to be re-written, the star has his eye on a local teen girl and the starlet refuses to do the topless scene that she agreed to do in her contract. It isn’t long before the small town values begin affecting some of its visitors and the Hollywood phoniness affects everyone.
I enjoy watching movies that deal with Hollywood and its behind the scenes goings-on, and this one was no different. It certainly didn’t blow me away with any of its humor, but it was a nice, light comedy filled with several interesting characters, a few really funny lines and an infectious easy-going score. In fact, the clever lines alone were an easy step up from any typical Hollywood tart romp, but on the whole, it still rode in a little under my Mamet expectation meter. I had hoped for a lot more “bite”! The film ran a little too long for its own good and spent too much time on a relationship between a couple of the characters, who really weren’t half as funny or interesting as anyone else in the movie. For me, two of the funniest personalities in the film were Alec Baldwin, who played the aloof, conceited yet charming star to a tee (nice to have you back, Alec!), and David Paymer, who must’ve channeled the spirit of Joel Silver for his role as the arrogant, no holds barred producer. These two guys had some really hilarious lines in the movie and obviously loved the roles that they were playing.

I also liked the director in this movie inhabited perfectly by William H. Macy and all of his backdoor phoniness, but I didn’t think that there was enough time spent with these three characters. Mamet decided to focus more on the screenwriter and his dilemma in this story, and despite being a writer myself, I didn’t particularly care much for his predicament. The greater point of the film was predictable early on, so I would have rather they focused more on all of the characters, rather than just the one. But that’s honestly just a minor quirk in an overall decent film which should definitely be seen by all who enjoy the behind the scenes game of Hollywood. It reminded me a lot of MUMFORD and LIVING IN OBLIVION, with it being much funnier than the former but not as funny as the latter. In the end, I don’t think this film is gonna blow anybody’s socks off, but it certainly is a nice change from all the poop-joke movies that’ve been shot our way of late. It’s small, it’s cute, it’s David Mamet-lite.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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