A rare screen comedy from David Mamet, State and Main effectively skewers the Hollywood elite in this breezy Tinseltown satire that will probably play best to the inside denizens it is spoofing. Mamet's directorial style still needs some polish (many scenes hang on well after their peak has been reached), and the film is eventually done in by its own cleverness, but his instincts as a writer remain sharp as ever. The screenplay has a wondrous attention to detail, and the power-talk employed by many of the characters is stinging and observant. The cast is also perfectly appointed, with Alec Baldwin and David Paymer particularly funny and Philip Seymour Hoffman finally getting to play a romantic lead, something he pulls off with charming ease. The film lacks the bite of something like Robert Altman's The Player -- which was truly haunting beneath its savage humor -- but provides much entertainment value, particularly for those fascinated by the politics of the film biz. State and Main premiered at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival to very enthusiastic notices, prompting many to compare Mamet's work to legendary director Preston Sturges.
by Jason Clark review