Thursday, 23 July 2009

Man About Town

Lowdown: A seemingly successful guy's world crumbles around him.
It was a Friday night, we were tired, and once again the default was a filler off our PVR. Man About Town, a film starring Ben Affleck, seemed perfect for the job. It wasn't great, but it proved right for the occasion.
Man About Town, a 2006 release, follows Affleck, a successful and affluent script writers' agent in LA. Successful, rich, married to a beautiful wife, Affleck seems to have everything going for him. Is that really the case, though? No. Affleck seems to be suffering from some sort of a midlife crisis that sends him to a class where he is taught how to write a journal of his own life (the teacher, by the way, is John Cleese in a very typical Cleese sideshow appearance). Then we learn that his wife, played by Rebecca Romijn, has betrayed him with one of his clients; so he kicks her out. And then we witness Affleck stumbling into professional woes as his fatigue prevents him from being attractive to clients; not only that, but shadows from his past begin to haunt him, and they seem related to his journal.
What Man About Town is trying to be is a film discussing the emptiness of Western life, the way money, having a good looking partner, and professional success do not seem to yield true happiness on their own. Indeed, I have to say that Romijn, with whom I am generally unfamiliar (how do you pronounce her name anyway?) has to be one of the better looking specimen of the human female species. Yet there is a problem with Man About Town: all of its attempts for deep discussions are thwarted by its inherent lack of seriousness; the film doesn't know whether to take itself seriously or just pass as an hour and a half of slight and predictable jokes.
I have to admit I am yet to make my mind up about the film's ending. On one hand it demonstrates the film's emptiness and its inability to break any kind of news to us, while on the other one can argue that it is exactly this inability that is the real message here: there is no real solution to these problems, you just have to work them out for yourself.
So is it great or is it not? Ultimately, Man About Town is just forgettable.
Worst scene: Affleck's bedroom has this huge tropical fish aquarium in its open space like arrangement. I don't know how he's able to go to sleep with this next to him. Anyway, in typical corny fashion (and under circumstances I won't disclose) he ends up scuba diving in it. How original.
Overall: A pleasant film that is not a bad way to pass the time when challenges to the intellect are unwelcome. Nothing more than that, I'm afraid. 2.5 out of 5 stars.


Uri said...

It rhymes with domain. And you did see her before. She was Mystique (the blue shape-shifter) in X-Men.

Moshe Reuveni said...

That doesn't count as seeing her, does it?

Uri said...

well, in the second movie she made out with a prison guard while using her real (i.e. Romijn's) form, so it sort of counts.