State and Main

Year: 2000
Production Co: Filmtown Entertainment
Director: David Mamet
Writer: David Mamet
Cast: William H Macy, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Charles Durning, David Paymer, Julia Stiles, Philip Seymour Hoffman

David Mamet's output is seldom low quality, but it's only interesting some of the time, and here he covers ground we've seen a thousand times about how vacuous and cutthroat Hollywood is.

When a big budget movie production descends on a small town the differences between these impatient, hucksterish Hollywood types and the salt of the Earth locals is played up for laughs, but none of them as funny as they could be.

It's supposed to be partly about how the townspeople are too accommodating of the movie stars and crew hoping some of the glitzy good life rubs off on them, but there's more value (and humour) in the tiny details about the workings of Hollywood.

In one, having found out how hard it is to get Evian water in such a place, one of the crew members is given the job of refilling empty Evian bottles with tap water and holding a lighter to the lid so the melted plastic tricks the star into believing they're opening a new one.

But the funniest is the fast-talking producer (Paymer) who elbows dotcom-era product placement into the film despite the director's (Macy) insistence about how ridiculous an Internet address is in a story set in the old west. The compromise - as revealed in the last frame where we see of the resulting movie - is a traveling general store operating out of a covered wagon called 'Bazoomercom'.

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