MAN ABOUT TOWN: DVD
Top Los Angeles talent agent, Jack Giamoro (Ben Affleck), seems to have it all: successful career, money, and a beautiful wife, Nina (Rebecca Romijn). But he feels something is missing, and in order to explore his feelings, takes a journal writing class, taught by pompous Mr. Primkin (John Cleese). Jack begins to re-evaluate his life, and when he learns his wife is cheating on him with his most important client Phil Balow (Adam Goldberg), his perfect life really starts to unravel. Things get even worse when Jack's journal, which contains secrets that could ruin him personally and professionally, is stolen by rebuffed wanna-be writer and ambitious freelance journalist, Barbi Ling (Bai Ling). Furthermore, his partners in the agency, Morty (Mike Binder) and Arlene (Gina Gershon) stand to be embarrassed - and worse still, lose business.
Review by Louise Keller:
The themes of Man About Town dig deeper than its storyline suggests. It's about a successful self-made man with a designer life and designer wife who scratches underneath the surface to find the meaning of life. Of HIS life. Like writer director Mike Binder's previous film, The Upside of Anger, there is bite in this comedy as it looks at relationships, inner-demons and resolutions. Emotional pathos is shaken into a cocktail with a nip of outlandish ideas, some of which are more potent than others. But potency aside, the final mix is not as compelling as its ingredients.
In a role that might have been tailor-made for him, Ben Affleck fits the mould of LA talent agent Jack Giamoro who makes more effort on his abdomen than he does on his relationship with his wife Nina (Rebecca Romijn). John Cleese instantly made me smile as the aptly-named, supercilious Mr Primkin. His journal-writing motivation classes prompt Jack to pen his secrets - his days as a fat kid, his bitter rivalry with his brother and business ethics as he climbs the ladder of success. But as soon as he bares his soul into his journal, he finds himself confronted by new problems, as the precious book is stolen.
Bai Ling is a scene stealer as the journalist with the teensy mini skirt, who hungers for her story at any cost. The climactic scene involving a cat fight, an unwelcome visitor and a re-enactment of Basic Instinct's interrogation scene by a wanna-be actress is not as hilarious as the set up promises. Binder is more successful at creating textures and layers in Jack's office and home. The scenes involving Jack's stroke-ridden father (Howard Hesseman) and the oversized fish tank are among the film's funniest as well as the most poignant.
There is nothing comfortable about Jack's journey of self discovery. It's bumpy all the way. Jack faces infidelity, humiliation and business ruin. Occasionally played for laughs, but grounded in the mire of life's harsh reality, Man About Town has its moments, but is less than a memorable ride uptown.
Published February 22, 2007
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MAN ABOUT TOWN: DVD (M)
CAST: Ben Affleck, Scott London, Rebecca Romijn, Mike Binder, Gina Gershon, Kal Penn, Adam Goldberg Jerry O'Connell, Amber Valetta, John Cleese, Lai Bing, Damian Wayans
PRODUCER: Jack Binder, Sammy Lee, Michael Rotenberg
DIRECTOR: Mike Binder
SCRIPT: Mike Binder
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russ T. Alsobrook
EDITOR: Roger Nygard
MUSIC: Larry Groupe
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Christian Wintter
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 31, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURES: n/a
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: February 21, 2007
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