Binder really should’ve started pumping in air earlier and faster into “Man about Town” if it was intended to stay solid, afloat and upright for its entire duration
Ben Affleck, Gina Gershon, John Cleese, Kal Penn, Bai Ling, Mike Binder, Rebecca Romjin, Adam Goldberg, Amber Valletta, Jerry O’Connell
Like a one-legged fat man informed that he has to blow up an air mattress for some tired guests that are less than 15 minutes away, Writer/director Mike Binder really should’ve started pumping in air earlier and faster into “Man about Town” if it was intended to stay solid, afloat and upright for its entire duration. Though still an easily endurable, and enjoyable, ride it’s lacking in some much-needed bounce, having only been filled to the halfway mark. Pity, because it’s just the kind of comeback vehicle Ben ‘see Gigli didn’t completely kill my career’ Affleck needed.
Affleck carries the film – and yes, surprisingly, he does carry the film with an impressive, and rather surprisingly effective turn – as a talent agent whose life goes from bad to worse in a matter of days…. Or, in this case, journal entries. His wife (Rebecca Romjin) is sleeping with his star client, he’s in dire need of some top talent to keep his agency afloat, and to top it off, a gossip columnist – masquerading as a fellow student in his journal writing class – has snatched his journals, which details just how broken his life is, with plans to publish.
Though quite well written, and a nice performance piece for Affleck (in fact, it could be his best performance since “Good Will Hunting”), “Man About Town” is both too sluggish, and not gripping enough (especially if you don’t have the faintest interest in how Hollywood agents work, because it is essentially all about that) to entrance the everyday filmgoer. It is also a film that’s not quite sure what it wants to be – is it a comedy, is it a quirky satire of the talent agent, is it a drama, it is a romance, or it is a thriller? The genre profusion works for some – in fact, it worked for Binder’s last film, “The Upside of Anger” – but shifts too impulsively for it to work here.
If you need to be reassured that Affleck still belongs in Hollywood – see it. Just wait till discount day at the local multiplex.
Reviewer : Clint Morris