He's Not Alright Jack
Writer and Director Mike Binder is the man responsible for one of my favourite movies, no I don't mean "Man About Town", but the under-appreciated "Indian Summer". He is also the man responsible for "Man About Town", not only writing and directing but also appearing in it and sadly it's not good. It's not good because it is too mixed up, starting with what is a character driven piece but then throws in a more casual comedy element where a journal containing secrets is stolen and needs to be recovered. The two don't work together and end up weakening what if it had focussed on being one or the other could have been reasonably entertaining.
Talent agent Jack Giamoro (Ben Affleck - Surviving Christmas) is struggling, he's lost focus of who he is anymore as he deals with work pressure, marital issues and a sick father who lives with him. It is because of all this that Jack has started a course in journal writing in the hope of sorting out the mess in his mind and getting a grip on his life again. Unfortunately it makes matters worse when a disgruntled writer steals Jack's journal and tries to blackmail him with the secrets he has written down.
I'm not the biggest lover of movies which focus on self analysis, my view on life is shit happens to all of us so get on with it, but "Man About Town" starts reasonably well as we enter the life of Jack. There is enough going on in Jack's life to make him messed up from a misbehaving father to his wife banging one of his clients. And if it had stayed focussed on Jack getting all his problems down and sorted it would have been a reasonable movie all about getting a grip on life.
But then that isn't all that happens as we then get Jack's journal being stolen and his need to get it back. Basically we now have an element of general comedy from slapstick chases to Jack ending up in a dentist chair and getting buck teeth. Now the thing is that the comedy is funny, Ben Affleck's moment of mimicking Tom Cruise is enjoyable and all the humour surrounding Jack's dad and his quirky behaviour is just as much fun. But the general humour mixed with character driven drama just doesn't work and it makes it unfocussed and basically wrong.
The knock on effect of this is that poor Ben Affleck ends up playing a character with a split personality, one minute he is soul searching the next the over the top clown and he does both well, they just don't work well come from the same character making him inconsistent. And unfortunately the talented supporting cast which includes Gina Gershon, Rebecca Romijn and John Cleese end up lost in the inconsistent chaos not knowing how there characters should react to either side of Jack's personality.
What this all boils down to is that "Man About Town" ended up failing for me because it is a movie with almost a split personality. It's not terrible and each side of the movie works, they just don't work together.