State And Main

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

When a Hollywood film crew descends upon a sleepy New England town, the first thing that goes is sense. The incomers behave with brutal cynicism, treating the place as their back lot.

"You've got to get me Main Street for nothing," the director (William H Macy), snaps at his first assistant.

They arrive in a rush, having fled New Hampshire under a cloud. Something to do with unpaid civic fees. Here, it's going to be different. They can flatter the mayor, get what they want without paying, ignore the feelings of the inhabitants and somehow shoot the picture.

David Mamet's inventive mind sees to it that nothing runs smoothly. The star actor (Alec Baldwin) has what he calls "a hobby" - underage girls. Not a clever move in a small community like this.

The star actress (Sarah Jessica Parker) won't do her nude scene for less than $800,000. Marty (David Paymer), the producer, doesn't have that kind of money. Or does he?

The writer (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has lost his Olivetti typewriter and can't work on anything else. He is a sensitive soul, plucked from the intellectual nursery of theatreland, totally at sea in this tough, artless world. He meets Ann (Rebecca Pidgeon) in her book shop and something happens between them, although he's not sure what. Is it love?

As an ensemble comedy, with captivating performances and a wickedly funny script from Mamet, State And Main takes a satirical swipe at movie people.

"I made 11 million last year," Marty rails at a pipsqueak politician. "And I WON'T be trifled with!"

Macy and Hoffman are the best character actors working in film right now. Having them together is an unexpected treat. Add a delightful Pidgeon and a delectable Parker and you wonder, who needs Woody Allen when you have this?

Reviewed on: 20 Jan 2002
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The affect of a movie crew on a sleepy New England town.
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Director: David Mamet

Writer: David Mamet

Starring: Alec Baldwin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Paymer, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay

Year: 2001

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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