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State and Main

Hmm. It had some cute quips, but the actors are actually so much better than the words they were given. Sadly, the whole thing came out flat.

Many of the jokes were written in Hollywood lingo or "in the know" style. If you have a vast knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of Hollywood you'll get ten-fold more laughter here. If you don't, you may want to read You'll Never Lunch in this Town Again, see a well-done, hilarious movie with similar top-secret hush-hush Hollywood info The Player, or hang at a trendy LA eatery for a week or two and eaves drop as a prerequisite to State and Main.

Then it has what can only be called the kiss of death for a movie these days - Alec Baldwin. Poor guy. He's porked out, sure, but retina shock aside the guy's a great actor. It's like he's got some thespian curse from John Barrymore on him...Did Baldwin ever play Hamlet? I wonder...Somehow everything I see him in for a few years is a poopoo mediocre exercise in film.

State and Main's story goes... Hollywood has descended upon a sleepy little hickville Vermont hammock. They bring the stars, the attitude and the excitement so long absent in the town. These "golly-gee" folks fall over themselves to appease the spurious royalty.

Ha ha. Then one of the crew, well, the scene editor & writer Joseph Turner White ( Philip Seymour Hoffman Heimer Schmidt), falls for a local Ann (Rebecca Pidgeon). Ann's so laid-back she seems medically sedated or in post traumatic shock. Oddly enough, even with this supersized annoying style of acting, it's Ann who delivers some of the films funniest lines...If you're familiar with Seymour Hoffman, you may recall his delivery is ditto very calm and smooth. So when the two were in one of their many scenes together, I nearly nodded off —full-scale drool time.

The movie's director and producer Walt Price (an electric William H Macy— Fargo, Pleasantville, etc.) and Marty Rosen ( Larry Fine, oops I mean David Paymer) are positively scene stealers. I wish there had have been more volleying of dialog between or with these two. They were very very funny. But then the rest was there...

Sarah Jessica Parker plays the movie's female star, Claire Wellesley. She wants 800,000 to show her titays.
Well they just wont pay it— everyone knows her fans come to see her act...Yeah, right. Walt and Marty wonder what do they do now?

Simple rewrite the film. Yippee.

Oh no! Now what? The movie-in-the-making's leading man, Bob (Baldwin) Berrenger, has been caught teaching, um, catfish noodling, to a minor? Hiding the hambone special in the pantry? He's got a hobby that includes teenage gals...Ouch.

What's that? Turns out the police chief (Clark -rather- handsome-Gregg) who's busting the actor is also the smitten writer's new semi-comatose squeeze's ex- fiancee? Ann appears to have dumped the chief for this movie's writer!!!??? Now, that's a sparkling ACE Hardware© utility ax to grind. Looks like production is about to be halted...Or is it?

William H. Macy is brilliant per usual. He's very different in this...It's worth it to see his character. But maybe rent, and that's if you're a fan of his. Don't expect his usual doormat -man-pussyfooting around character. He's perfection. I'd love to see him in a Christopher Guest film.

A pet actor, Clark Gregg, plays the jilted fiance. He was the butch transsexual step dad in Sebastian Cole. Hopefully we will see more of him, he's a tall manly man kebab.

Overall, it was pretty clever, if above too many folks heads at times. Hey, I'm all for that if it's worth the punchline. But the story just dragged and had big energetic swells then bam- monotone dullsville-o-rama filler. And from one of my favorite screenwriters, David Mamet- Glengarry Glen Ross, The Spanish Prisoner, Wag the Dog etc.-I just expected more.

Snack Recommendation: A nice roadhouse with some cheap red wine

Starring: Alec Baldwin, Charles Durning, Clark Gregg, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patti LuPone, William H. Macy, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Paymer, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, and Jim Frangione.

Directed by: David Mamet

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