This is a fun film that takes an acerbic look at Hollywood.
I wish director Mike Binder and Ben Affleck had done a commentary track.
Mike Binder's Man About Town is a look at Hollywood from the perspective of talent agent Jack Giamoro (Ben Affleck). Realizing that he isn't the savage agent he once was, Jack also has to face that his wife Nina (Rebecca Romijn) is having an affair with one of his clients. If this wasn't bad enough, Jack has begun taking a journal writing class that he has filled with very personal thoughts and observations. A reporter (Bai Ling) has stolen this journal and is now planning on using it to write an expose about him.
Looking at someone whose life doesn't seem like it could get any worse, Man About Town is the sort of movie that tries to spread an uplifting message about life. The central idea is that Jack really does love Nina, so their relationship isn't something that he can walk away from. While this movie seems to be finding itself at all times, that sadly makes the narrative play as uneven. However, looked at another way, maybe director Mike Binder (he also acts in the film), has really gotten to the core of who Jack Giamoro is in how the film was told?
Actors talking about movie, their scenes, and the story... you guessed it, we have a "making of" piece! However, this genuinely seems like one that the actors have been pleased to take part in. Aside from having genuine smiles on their face, something tells me that that they like working with director Mike Binder. They discuss that it's kind of weird because they will be acting in a scene with him, and then they will be thrown off when he yells "cut." People like Romijn and Kal Penn discuss his directing style, working with Ben Affleck, and everything else you might expect them to say.
Talk to My Agent
Penn, Gina Gershon and others discuss their roles, and while they don't name any names, they do admit that their characters are based on real agents. They discuss how this movie is trying to show viewers the inner workings of Hollywood. They talk about movies usually being about the performers but Man About Town is actually about the people who represent the performers.
This is actually an interesting blooper reel because we're not just getting the mistakes that occurred when the movie was being shot, but we also get to see the actors mistakes during their interviews for the supplemental features. This was cool because I had never seen that before. We hear people behind the camera say that it's too loud as they're trying to conduct an interview. Other times, people like Adam Goldberg make fun of the whole interviewing process, especially the way actors tend to talk in these things. Very good stuff here.
16x9 Widescreen Version. This movie looked good. The DVD transfer seems like it has gone well and from what I understand this film was dumped to DVD. While there isn't anything special about the camera moves or the the way the images have been captured, I think that Binder was giving a nod to Woody Allen in that this movie is about Los Angeles, and the scenes are overly blown out and bright. (Allen used this same sort of effect when he did Annie Hall some years ago).
5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio - English and Spanish Subtitles. English Closed Captions. Like the picture , the audio is solid even though the there isn't anything that I would say is spectacular about it. The music to this film underscores the situations that Jack Giamoro is going through, but there's nothing that's in your face about it by any means. As this is a dialogue film, the mix is such that we are able to hear the actors without every word being uttered like it's Shakespeare.
Ben Affleck, looking a little worn out, is seen on this front cover with a shot of Rebecca Romijn, palm trees and the skyline of Los Angeles behind him. The back cover features a collage of pictures, a short description of this film, a Bonus Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. Nothing about this packaging really stands out, but something tells me that it will be priced inexpensively enough for that not to matter.
I had heard so many negative things about this movie that when I saw it, I almost knew that it was going to be good. I also appreciated that when I interviewed Mike Binder about his film, he very graciously admitted that it didn't come out the way he had initially expected it to. I might be in the minority but I happen to think that Ben Affleck is a good actor. I also think that he is very good with comedy which is what Man About Town is. I think sometimes certain movies that look like they should be easy to categorize aren't. I feel that this film looks like one of those movies, but that Mike Binder was trying to take it to a deeper level.
Perhaps the script had too many elements? Maybe Binder should have gone for a straight comedy instead of examining the relationship between Jack and Nina? Overall, I think Man About Town should be given credit for trying to mix genres even if that sadly made the film not play as well.
Man About Town was released June 8, 2006.