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State of Play Review

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State of Play


PG 13 118 min




So I thought to myself, “Self the election’s over, so it just might be safe to go to a thriller set in Washington DC.”

See, before an election the Hollywood left likes to dump all the anti, uh, establishment flicks hoping to sway people who think movies are real life.

Anyway, STATE OF PLAY is actually a fictitious suspense thriller of sorts. I say “of sorts” merely because it isn’t really very suspenseful or thrilling.

The all star cast is made up of a lot of the usual suspects from the Michael Moore wing of town but politics are the least of this one’s problems.

Ben Affleck is Rep. Stephen Collins, an up and coming young politician. He’s a tough handsome war hero fighting against a generic evil warmonger corporation, for truth justice and, well you know.

Just as he’s about to nail these devils, his hot young assistant winds up dead and he’s immediately suspected of an affair. Worse yet is that it’s true.

Meanwhile, back at the Washington Globe this big scoop lands in the lap of hard-boiled veteran reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) who just happens to be the congressman’s old college roommate and now spends his spare time banging the guy’s wife. Now as if that web weren’t tangled enough it seems the bad guys have unleashed a psycho sniper (Edward Norton, looking a lot like Neidermeyer from ANIMAL HOUSE) and a few other innocents wind up on the wrong side of the grass.

So our intrepid reporter rushes to piece together the facts that will exonerate his pal and foil the conspirators.

So I’m wondering why, with all these high caliber stars, there are just no big emotional scenes. It isn’t that anybody sucks, there’s just not much to do. (Actually I did enjoy Helen Mirren’s newspaper editor; kind of a British female Perry White)

Of course my biggest gripe is when a surprise ending comes out of nowhere as if the writer only got paid until five o clock. When great mystery writers like Harlan Coben use a twist ending I slap my forehead as all the clues I’d overlooked suddenly come into focus. Not so with this climax, which is more on par with Scooby Doo’s lesser plots.

I just can’t imagine that the big money cast left nothing at all for a little script repair, but hey, in this economy…?

Sorry to say that despite the heavy artillery in the credits STATE OF PLAY delivers very little firepower.







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