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Man About Town

Genre: , ,

Cast: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romijn, John Cleese, Samuel Ball, Mike Binder, Bai Ling, Kal Penn, Gina Gershon

Director: Mike Binder

Rated: R

Release Date: February 13th, 2007
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Overall Grade: B

Man About Town

Review By: Staff

Man About Town

"I am here to give you the tools to help you to uncover, discover, and discard the crap that is holding you back. And you sir, definitely have crap that is holding you back."

First things first. Man About Town could've had a better title. I don't know why this bothered me so much, but it did. That said, I really don't think it was a bad film, which is what one immediately thinks of a movie with A-list stars that goes straight to DVD. In this case, it was a good idea with a bad subplot that possibly tainted the entire movie, pushing it to the point of no return. Nevertheless, the film was thought-provoking and entertaining.

Jack Giamoro (Ben Affleck) is a hotshot Hollywood talent agent who is jaded with his life, feels trapped in his little workaholic world, and doesm't realize how he got there. He decides to secretly take a journal writing course, in which the quirky instructor (a hilarious John Cleese) promises to help the class get to the bottom of the problems in each of their lives. Jack soon discovers that his ex-supermodel wife (Rebecca Romijn) has been cheating on him with his client Phil (Adam Goldberg), a screenwriter, and within a day he hires movers to take all her belongings out of the house, and really begins to soul-search.

As he begins to delve into his past, tries to keep his client list up, and takes care of his ailing father (Howard Hesseman), who has become obsessed with an aquarium full of fish in Jack's home, his journal is suddenly stolen by a journalist (Bai Ling) looking to bring him down. Unfortunately at this point Jack had begun to write about the really juicy stuff in his personal life, and his shady past concerning the founding of the agency. Jack finds himself determined to retrieve the journal now that not only his professional life is at stake, but that of his colleagues, Arlene, Morty, and Alan (Gina Gershon, Mike Binder, Kal Penn), who started the agency with him.

The first half of the film is really good, and restored my faith in ol' Ben, in whose acting abilities I strongly believe"¦his ability to choose projects, not so much. Rebecca Romijn also did a great job playing the lying, cheating wife who redeems herself at the end and makes us like her again. My favorite though, was definitely John Cleese as the journaling instructor. That might just be the Monty Python fan in me talking, though.

The second half of the film becomes slapstick comedy, mixed in with intense drama, combined with just plain craziness. One or two of these attributes would have been fine, but eventually one does become slightly confused as to what tone the film is supposed to set. It was funny, as I laughed out loud on

numerous occasions; the scenes between Romijn and Affleck definitely strike the dramatic chord; when Jack has flashbacks of his past it hits that nostalgic note, and even shocks us at one point; and the scenes with Bai Ling are just plain old ridiculous. The balance between drama and comedy is not well thought out, as sometimes the comic relief does not come soon enough.

All in all, and although I hate to say it, Man About Town does have its points when it makes you reflect on your own life. It does get one thinking about how growing and changing is a lifelong process. That in the end you may still not be satisfied, even after you think you have everything you want. We also learn that Ben Affleck is not afraid to throw on some buckteeth and make us laugh. But it's also just a fun movie that happened to go straight to DVD. Go figure. I've definitely seen a lot worse sitting in a cushy theater eating a six dollar tub of popcorn.

The movie looks really great, and the CG effects were pretty awesome, which I really wasn't expecting. The highlights of the special features on the DVD include a gag reel and deleted scenes.

Movie Grade: B

DVD Features Grade: B

Overall Grade: B

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