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State of Play

This movie was released in 2009 and I seriously don’t remember seeing it advertised or talked about at all.  With a cast that includes Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck, I find that quite surprising.  But after watching it, I understand why.  Russell Crowe plays a grizzled journalist who, along with newbie Rachel McAdams, uncovers a scandal and series of crimes involving his longtime friend and congressman Ben Affleck.  Crowe plays basically the same character he played in “American Gangster,” except with longer, greasier hair and a bigger gut.  And Affleck is so terrible – how does this guy keep getting roles?  Has he done anything decent since “Goodwill Hunting?”  I can’t quite tell how the film falls flat, but it does:  the story is fairly entertaining and it has a novel twist (sort of “All the President’s Men” meets “No Way Out”),  and there is certainly enough star power (with the exception of Affleck, all the main players are excellent performers in general), but the overall effect of the film is simply underwhelming, yet convoluted.  You can’t help but feel that all the actors have been miscast or underutilized or something:  it just doesn’t gel.  It’s not the worst movie ever, but this is a film that could have been so much more.

Rating: 2 out of 4 Pig Toes.

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