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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.8%
Average: 11.27%
Pretty Bad: 2.82%
Total Crap: 9.86%

7 reviews, 29 user ratings

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State and Main
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"It's all in the preparation…"
4 stars

State and Main is a deliciously written and acted satire about a Hollywood film crew invading the small town of Waterford, Vermont to prep a film shoot. Director David Mamet's screenplay cleverly juggles a myriad of movie and townsfolk characters and sets up a variety of gags, most with winning payoffs (only one about a stained glass window isn't properly concluded).

Top amongst the cast are William H Macy as the film's director, who alternates between cajoling and bullying according to the status of his audience; and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, as the sensitive playwright (re-)writing his first movie. Hoffman stole scenes in Almost Famous and The Talented Mr Ripley, and is terrific here as the straight man who anchors the film. Alec Baldwin and Sarah Jessica Parker are the stars of the film-within-a-film. He can't keep his hands off under-age girls ("everybody needs a hobby"), while she's found religion and can no longer countenance going topless for her "art".

Film-making is fertile ground for film comedy. By confining his story to location pre-production, Mamet differentiates State and Main from other Hollywood making-of or insider comedies, and also from films about non-Hollywood or independent film-making (Shadow of the Vampire or Living in Oblivion). The only actors in the film-within-a-film we get to know are the two stars, but there's enough going on amongst the crew and the townsfolk to prevent this being a limitation.

Theodore Shapiro's bouncy score and Barbara Tulliver's editing keep the pace swift, although the film slackens a little towards the end. The jokes continue during - and over - the credits, so it's worth sticking around till the very end.

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originally posted: 05/29/01 08:12:31
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User Comments

4/08/03 Jack Sommersby Stale and obvious. Mamet's timing is poor, and Macy is classically miscast. A real botch. 1 stars
7/16/02 Phil M. Aficionado It was a 2 star story with a 3 star script and 4 star acting. 3=average overall 3 stars
4/05/02 Edfink Lombardo Hysterical comedy with pitch-perfect dialogue...William H. Macy is in top form 5 stars
1/18/02 daniboy good enough to recommend it 4 stars
12/25/01 Angela Murtagh Disgustingly boring...I hated it...worst movie ever!!! 1 stars
11/15/01 AgentDS Good for a laugh 4 stars
10/13/01 Bevan R. Clark Clever dialogue, great cast but slow paced. 4 stars
8/21/01 tnt slow..tedious and dull! 1 stars
8/19/01 hum some good lines but slow and unengaging 3 stars
8/14/01 chouck I couldn't care less about any of the characters 2 stars
8/09/01 Andy Panda Boring, unfunny. Found myself not giving a shit what happened next. 2 stars
7/07/01 viking Good old fashioned fun with a modern flavour 4 stars
7/01/01 Onyx Enjoyed it, was clever and funny. 5 stars
6/25/01 Monday Morning Had its moments but poor compared to "The Player" and "Get Shorty" as HW satires go. 3 stars
6/21/01 The Bomb 69 intelligent and witty writing, solid acting, slow in patches though 4 stars
6/06/01 Belinda Clever intelligent filmaking but a bit too slow. 3 stars
3/09/01 gmh Has its moments, but Hoffman is horrible. 3 stars
2/17/01 tom guy good 5 stars
2/13/01 Jake That line about our electoral process was as forced as this crap of a movie. 1 stars
2/08/01 Mark boring, stilted badly acted crap 1 stars
2/05/01 ems. a great film that will keep you laughing and guessing 5 stars
2/03/01 Heather Funny movie, full of insights and chuckles, Hoffman shines as ever 4 stars
1/24/01 Matt Oh My God!!! What a dumb ass movie. No questions were answered. What was the point. 1 stars
1/19/01 Angela M. Murtagh it was the worst movie I have ever was boring and slow and it sucked! 1 stars
1/17/01 Jes I laughed... occasionally... 3 stars
1/16/01 kyle expected more 3 stars
12/27/00 Jenny-My-Fur awesome, funny as hell, everyone should see this movie, macy &hoffman are oscar noms! 5 stars
12/19/00 frankko well written, smart, funny movie. and the entire cast is phenomenal 5 stars
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  12-Jan-2001 (R)


  07-Jun-2001 (M)

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