State and Main

Dir: David Mamet
Starring: William H.Macy, Alec Baldwin, Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Rebecca Pidgeon

When a movie director (Macy) moves in to a sleepy Vermont town to shoot his picture, he has to contend with...oh, the usual problems, such as a leading man (Baldwin) with a fondness for 14-year olds ("Get him half a 28-year old!", snaps one of the many wonderful lines), a leading lady (Sarah Jessica Parker) who won't get her baps out, and a script-writer (Hoffman) who has to rewrite 'The Old Mill' because the old mill actually burned down in the 1960's. There is no shortage of venom (albeit fairly mild venom, if you see what I mean), but the central romance, between the writer and local Rebecca Pidgeon, seems curiously out of place and somewhat unconvincing, perhaps because Hoffman comes across as more Forrest Gump than Barton Fink. Macy gives the film drive and energy, willing to do anything to get his film made; if you've seen Living in Oblivion, he's what Steve Buscemi's rookie director would become, after a few more films. However, it's probably too gentle as comedy, because it's pretty much a given than any Hollywood depiction of itself will be cynical and world-weary. Compared to previous work, it seems something of a waste of David Mamet's undisputed talents to be shooting the fish in a barrel which he does here.


Getting in a right old state...
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