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Man About Town
Another Ben Affleck Bomb?
Man About Town
Ben Affleck Stars in "Man About Town".
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $24,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
September 13th, 2006: Jack Giamoro (Ben Affleck) is a top Hollywood talent agent who thinks he has everything he needs. After he learns that his stunning wife Nina (Rebecca Romijn) is cheating on him with his most important client (Adam Goldberg), his seemingly perfect life starts to disintegrate. If that wasn’t enough, a pesky reporter by the name of Barbi Ling (Bai Ling) steals a journal that contains Jack’s personal and professional secrets. In order to hold on to everything that’s important in his life, he must fight back. With the help of his family, he might finally attain the happiness he was looking for all along.

What to Expect: I think it is unavoidable that everyone will be watching and waiting to see if Ben Affleck will fail once again. Ever since the Bennifer era of a few years ago, it seems almost as if though filmgoers are purposefully boycotting his releases just to see the Oscar winning actor squirm. His last four features, Surviving Christmas, Jersey Girl, Paycheck, and Gigli, have all been disappointments to some degree, with the latter becoming a particularly inexcusable offense in the eyes of the public. Both he and co-star Jennifer Lopez were bashed so heavily during Gigli’s theatrical run that the movie never even had a chance. To tell you the truth, outside of the somewhat laughable premise, I never understood what was so detestable about the picture that it would cause so many critics to foam right at the mouth at the mere mention of it. Unfortunately for Affleck, he is still known as a “bad movie” actor, with each new release being treated as another potential candidate for mockery and bad pun jokes. The good news for him is that after a couple of years away from the business, he actually has a few interesting projects lined up. A supporting role in Hollywoodland should be an excellent way for Affleck to reintroduce himself right back into the limelight. Then, early next year, another supporting role in Joe Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces, his long-awaited follow-up to Narc, may further improve his image in the public eye. By the time Gone, Baby, Gone hits theaters in 2007 and marks Affleck’s directorial debut, there will hopefully be very little snickering in the back rows of the theater.

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In Man About Town, Affleck at least has something he has not had in quite a while, a good and deep supporting cast. If this movie fails, at least all the blame cannot be placed on its main star. Then again, I’m sure it could.

Rebecca Romijn is no longer just a piece of mute eye-candy like she was in X-Men. Ever since Brian De Palma’s highly underrated Femme Fatale, her roles have been growing. The eccentric Gina Gershon and Bai Ling offer a less traditional and far more dangerous alternative to Romijn. Legendary comedian John Cleese is a welcome addition to just about any comedy. However, none of these Hollywood big shots, Affleck included, is having the type of year that their co-star Kal Penn is having. Besides Man About Town and Superman Returns, which already hit theaters, he will have lead roles in The Namesake and Van Wilder 2: Rise of the Taj. Penn is clearly doing well for himself lately.

Writer-director Mike Binder, who also stars in the film, originally wrote this movie for Steven Spielberg, who eventually passed on it. As a result, he decided to shoot it himself. He’s coming off his most mature and critically acclaimed film to date, The Upside of Anger, which starred Kevin Costner and Joan Allen. Unfortunately, his credits also include disastrous pictures like The Sex Monster and the truly miscalculated Damon Wayans comedy, Blankman. Because I tend to be pessimistic, I believe that Man About Town might end up being grouped with the latter two. The film screened at the Santa Barbara Film Festival early in February and has not been heard from since. Furthermore, shooting wrapped well over a year ago and there still hasn’t been any sign of an actual release date. It almost feels like this film could get shelved at any moment and were it not for Affleck and the impressive list of stars, it probably would have been by now.

In Conclusion: Unfortunately, I think that this could easily become yet another Ben Affleck bomb. No good movie would ever be held from the public for this long. I particularly worry about the storyline, which suggests that this could be yet another phony, Hollywood version of a man’s journey to self-discovery. If done correctly you have American Beauty and if done poorly you have preposterous and pretentious nonsense. Even as a comedy, an egocentric talent agent’s transformation into a decent, appreciative, family oriented human being seems like a stretch. When you throw Affleck into the mix, it could be déjà vu all over again.

Similar Titles: Intolerable Cruelty, Gigli, S1m0ne
February 13th, 2007 (DVD)

Media 8 Entertainment

Mike Binder

Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romijn, John Cleese, Gina Gershon, Bai Ling, Amber Valletta, Kal Penn, Howard Hesseman, Adam Goldberg, Jerry OConnell, Damien Wayans, Mike Binder

Total: 32 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Click here to view site

Rated R for language, some sexual content and a scene of violence.

96 min






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