Man About Town (2006)

38% – Critics
29% – Audience

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Man About Town Movie Reviews

A very rounded film: Jersey Girl for grown-ups

Stress and Success: I believe that “Man About Town” gets to the soul of work-life balance in a surprising way. A head review on IMDb compares it to American Beauty — I think this makes it too heavy and the themes too weighty — it is Jersey Girl with grown-ups – has farce, charm, and truly poignant scenes, as well as a man who as his life goes down the toilet makes his soul play and work for him.

Is it about the material waste vs. romance? : well, no not really; a modern parable of values; a little; an Italian drama with American values played out like a french comedy romance: definitely.

There is a strong cast: A pythonesque cameo breaks up the story into segments. Howard Hesseman as the father is a better role than expected: and he delivers a class performance. A face I hadn’t noticed before, Damien Wayans, (well according to IMDb his previous credits include “cousin carrying plastic bag” in Don’t be a Menace to South Central while Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, ’nuff said…) here he handles the foil of Ben Affleck’s necessarily flack-like performance with real aplomb as the put-upon PA. He has behind the fluff a serious look that would lend well to comedy and/or drama. Bet we’ll see more of him.

The treatment lends to being real handled with verve and vigor: covering the gamut from farce to bathos – and for my money hit a surprising number of home runs. Ben Affleck – a man driven to the point of desperation, and reconnection gives a deceptively light performance: I would have to say they are some awesome skills going into this – sometime he makes it look too easy, too, what’s the word, smiley ?, but it is nicely played. It is his most mature role to date and he handles this tale of a man discovering his true values and maturity with a measured casualness.

On filming: I found the approach to filming itself more complex than I expected the lighting and sound are both clever and discrete; and it is well lit. Obviously style and architecture and the LA dream are nicely displayed: great design. The office really looks right, down to the door handles.

The editing makes good sense and keeps the pace in a natural story that jumps pace and genre : and there are some shots with lifts that are unique (!) and worth checking out for that reason alone.

It is funny particularly good on the visual jokes, but not overly crude, but It also moved me to tears four times – no mean feat – and my wife even more.

Mike Binder, who both wrote and directed this, is getting really close to having a real hit – I sense a director ready to take on a big star, and big themes and fly with them.

Overall, I enjoyed this tremendously and would say: more like it please. It is kind of familiar territory and many critics will point to it as too mixed up to be clear: but I would argue that the theme of redemption is clearer than the lax comic relief that occasionally surfaces — and the silliness is light relief and flows out of the plot.

This film about a film executive who caught the success train early and now feels the baggage carriage rocketing up fast could itself be difficult to categorize as comedy romance drama etc; and that may be a weakness in marketing, but it is a strength in the telling: I found it a very rounded experience. Who wouldn’t want to find films that touch the soul and here we have.

Worth the rental (And a release – This should be a release with real marketing values – right?) — yup and how.

The First 40 Minutes…

“Man About Town” is the biggest DTV movie of 2007. I can see why it deserved that fate.

The plot: Jack Giamoro (Affleck) is a smarmy talent agent who has a successful life and a beautiful wife (Romijn). He realizes that his wife is cheating on him with his top client (Adam Goldberg). This sets him off emotionally and he starts a journal and it contains all his dark secrets. Unfortunately, it gets stolen in a robbery and he needs it back desperately.

The first 40 minutes are excellent. Affleck and Romijn are great and they have some strong chemistry. Then it falls apart….fast. The journal class\robbery subplot just doesn’t work. If they cut that out and focused on the infidelity it would have been a stronger movie. I think this went straight to video because of its wildly uneven tone. It’s not really a comedy, it’s more of a drama. The climax, while entertaining, is predictable and feels rushed. The supporting cast is good however, with John Cleese standing out as Jack’s teacher.

Overall, “Man About Town” is worth seeing for the first 40 minutes. If you like Affleck, you might enjoy it. Take a look at the trailer! (Does contain spoilers!)

The talent agency

“Man About Town”, written and directed, as well as acted, by Mike Binder, shows how low some of the people that rule the film industry have stooped so low in order to establish themselves in the fantasy planet of Hollywood and the competitive world they seem to inhabit. Some famous names come to mind of people that got their start this way. It is curious how our society does not bat an eyelash to denounce their deception, their greed and the ambition that seem to be their only excuse to justify their existence.

At the center of the story, one meets Jack Giamoro. He lives the kind of life that not many of us mortals get to know. He is married to a gorgeous woman, a product of that rarefied world, that has cheated on him with one of his clients. Jack, upon learning about the deceit in his own life, goes berserk. He hires the relative of a man in his office to take all her possessions out his house and his life.

We get a chance to see what Jack’s life was like growing up. In flashbacks one can watch how his own brother took the girl he liked away from him. His father, who is senile, lives with him, to make matters worse. Luckily, Jack has no children, which makes his separation from the wife more bearable. Jack has a problem in opening himself to others as shown in the writing classes he decides to take, but he wants to use to his own advantage; he doesn’t want to share personal aspects of his writing with the professor, or his fellow students.

The surprising turn of events that befall Jack make him more human, in ways one never suspected. In a way, the film is a cop out because Jack doesn’t show any kind of human kindness from the way he rose to the top, or in the way he wants to leave the same privilege life he got to enjoy when he stole business secrets from his employer and enabled him to have an upper hand on the others.

The problem with the film is we never really cared about these people and their insignificant troubles. Mike Binder, who created this film knows first hand how that segment of the film population acts and gives the viewer a bird’s eye view of the shallowness of it all.