Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
France/USA, 2000. Filmtown Entertainment, Green/Renzi, El Dorado Pictures. Screenplay by David Mamet. Cinematography by Oliver Stapleton. Produced by Sarah Green. Music by Theodore Shapiro. Production Design by Gemma Jackson. Costume Design by Susan Lyall. Film Editing by Barbara Tulliver. National Board of Review Awards 2000. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2000. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
Ridiculously smug comedy from David Mamet, who apparently thinks that he is the only clean soul in all of Hollywood. An independent film company comes to a tiny town on the East Coast to film a movie about what the writer (Philip Seymour Hoffman) calls ‘purity”: this must be why the director (Mamet regular William H. Macy) is fighting the lead actress (Sarah Jessica Parker) on her no-nudity clause. It’s not that the stereotypes that Mamet presents (all the actors are basically whores and the producers seem to be living heart donors) come across as untrue, it’s just that he never seems to qualify why it is that he’s allowed to make these judgments without ever implicating his own contribution. Besides that, his script is a shambles, opening many plotlines that he never resolves, while those that he does are pulled off without much payoff. The film’s best actors, including Alec Baldwin and Parker, are completely wasted in thankless roles, while Rebecca Pidgeon (Mamet’s real-life wife) is terrific as a resident of the town with enough gumption to not get either too excited or defensive about the strange visitors.