State and Main - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

State and Main Reviews

Page 1 of 20
August 6, 2016
the acting is horrible with great actors. I just don't get it...
March 11, 2016
Sharp, original and loaded with symbolism that cinema-philes will have endless fun analyzing.
½ September 19, 2015
The Hollywood satire is a tricky little subgenre - it's a bad case of biting the hand that feeds the director - and it takes a ruthless visionary to deliver results humorous enough to keep executives happy and vicious enough to convince audiences that the foulness is the real deal. The finest, Robert Altman's "The Player" (1992), is a star-studded event that makes Hollywood seem like a place for wolves rather than cheery hopefuls; and David Mamet's "State and Main" (2000), acidic and witty until egos come crashing down, breaks into the top-five while remaining much more lightweight than the former. It's satisfying and breezy, so much so that it's easy to forget just how exquisitely smart Mamet's writing is.
"State and Main" follows a film crew to Waterford, Virginia, where Walter Price's (William H. Macy) latest project, "The Old Mill", is headed into production. Equipped with several of the 19th century props needed for the movie, it seems like the perfect location; but when it's discovered that the most pivotal attraction, The Old Mill itself, burned down years ago, it sets off a series of disastrous events that could lead the production into cinematic hell. Star Bob Barrenger's (Alec Baldwin) weakness for teenage girls comes to a head when he begins having an affair with the daughter (Julia Stiles) of the local restauranteur (Ricky Jay), who decides to press charges. Temperamental female lead Claire Wellesley (Sarah Jessica Parker) refuses to take her top off for a pivotal romantic scene; screenwriter Joseph Turner White (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a sensitive introvert, is having trouble with needed rewrites. All this occurs before filming even begins, and a cursed pre-production is no way to marinate a major Hollywood drama.
Because most of Mamet's films focus on the intellectual bottom-feeders of society, "State and Main" feels like an anomaly, an unusual reminder that someone so obsessed with crafty shadow dwellers is capable of having a softer side that would prefer to pass the time with comedy than with cons. I might like him better when he's cackling along with the antics of Joe Montegna and Lindsay Crouse in 1987's "House of Games", but that doesn't mean that seeing him having a good time isn't a delicacy. Able to juggle a truckload of characters like a people obsessed puppet-master, Mamet has a natural gift for comedy, perfectly aware that insecurities among celebrities and money quests among productional heads are just as funny as sitcom-ready misunderstandings. His famed Mamet speak (a silky assortment of italics and quaint pauses in his characters' linguistics) is as conspicuous as ever; it suits "State and Main"'s acerbic screwball madness.
In all, it feels more like a pastime than a comedic masterpiece from one of films greatest screenwriters, but "State and Main" is a winner all the same: lived in by a well-cast ensemble and deepened by worthy subplots (the low-key romance between Hoffman and Rebecca Pidgeon is my personal favorite), it is a Hollywood satire of rare enthusiasm. It would make for a great stage play - movie execs might be happier that way anyway.
August 25, 2015
? ??? ?????????? ???????? ?????! ? 2000 ???? ????? ????? "????? ?? ??????" ?????? ??????? ???????. ???? ???????, ???? ???????? ?????? - ????? ??? ???????? ?????. ????? ?????? ??????? ? ?????? ???????? ?????? ?? ?????? ???????, ?? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?????????? ?????? ????? ??? ????, ?????? ???????????? ??????????? ??????????. ???? ???????? ????? ??-?????? ???????? ????????, ?????? ????? ? ??????????? ????-???????? ????????. ?????? ??-?? ???? ?????? ??????? ???????? ???? ?????????? ???? ??????? ????? , ? ????? ?????????? ? ??? ?????? ? 46 ???.
August 3, 2015
Unique, superb film.
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2015
A lot of the plot (with the exception of the sexual elements of course), would fit nicely into a Preston Struges satire from the 40s. That kind of zany energy and very on the nose commentary strangely works with Mamet's oddball comedic style and dialogue. Hoffman and Pidgeon are such an unlikely yet wonderful romantic pairing.
March 14, 2015
A missed opportunity. Mamet gathers a great cast who all acquit themselves well, but it's in service to a generic, stereotype-filled paean to movie making. As usual, Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP) steals the show, but even his dialogue is very trite at times. There were a couple of laugh out loud lines, but the screenplay was clearly written by someone who has no idea what small town life is really like. It's great that the big city folks in the film didn't know, either, but to then paint the townsfolk as rubes, with few exceptions, was just lame.
½ November 13, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
November 5, 2014
Portrays the raw essence of the film industry. Very entertaining.
April 5, 2014
A thoroughly pleasant comedy, great cast, and nice to see the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in fine form.
March 23, 2014
A charming Mamet movie that is surprisingly not very Mamet-like.
I have watched it many times and it always makes me smile.
February 16, 2014
A delightful romp with great dialogue and winning performances. Mamet's most enjoyable film.
February 15, 2014
Hilarious sendup of the movie industry. Witty lines, asides and twists. A favorite.
January 17, 2014
Wry and dry comedy about the movie making business and the effect that a movie crew has on a small town in New England. Priceless performances by a great cast headed up by William H. Macey and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Lots of fun.
½ December 22, 2013
12/22/13 I only watched 20 minutes of this, and I knew that the film was going to suck. I know I've watched this before (probably within the last year) and I remembered almost NOTHING about it. I just had this feeling that I remembered hating it. I think I;m probably being too generous giving it 1.5 stars, but I barely remember anything about it, and it is based just on the first 20 (completely unfunny and boring) minutes.
August 22, 2013
started off a little too jumpy, quirky, and felt like it was only written for hollywood folk to enjoy; but as it progressed, it found its footing
June 10, 2013
Between a 7/10 and 8/10, this is probably the funniest Mamet piece to date (but not the weightiest), and it might be destined to take a seat alongside "The Player" and "Sunset Boulevard" in the front row of movieland satires.
½ June 4, 2013
Yaaaawn. Senseless dialogue; humourless tripe.
½ March 21, 2013
It's fast and fun but it struggles to be as smart as it wants to be amidst the madness. Thankfully the cast are perfect and there's enough charm throughout to keep us laughing and smiling even if it's all a bit more predictable than it should be.

The comedy isn't for everyone- it very much feels like a personal project for Mamet- a fun bit on the side of you will, but his passion for dialogue comes through here and even though it's never hilarious, there's a bright tone throughout and the occasional one-liner worth laughing aloud to.

Hoffman and Pidgeon are the stand-outs in this one as they add a real dimension of romance and capture the charm of the dialogue completely. The rest of the cast are good and certainly fit their roles but the comedy in their parts at times feels a little pressured- this isn't a film that should be memorable for any particular joke, it should be memorable for the overall experience and only Hoffman and Pidgeon offered that here.

The script is good but while there may be a lot going on in the plot, there's nothing that can't be quickly sussed out, it's almost a combination of formulaic ideas moulded into one. The outcome is different for sure but it's not particularly smart and you certainly get the impression that this film wants to be smart.

In it's attempt to keep the pace going it begins to crumble on itself- ideas that are built up throughout end up withering away to nothing in the end, some are even ignored completely after a point. This is frustrating and it makes the conclusion of the film feel fairly unsatisfying, it felt to me like this film got a bit lazy and began to fall on the comedy side to cover over the failures with the other aspects.

It's worth considering though that we are spoiled with some aspects of this film- with characters as interesting as the ones we get here and with some real themes behind a comedy it's almost inevitable that we'll feel somewhat disappointed when it ends- there's always more that could be done with potential like this.

In the end this isn't an undercooked meal but rather one that's cooked well but could use some seasoning, it's an enjoyable meal though and even if it doesn't leave you full you'll still have a pleasant taste in your mouth for a while afterwards.
March 15, 2013
Enjoyable comedy despite not being high on laughs, parodying the film business itself. There's plenty of recognisable names on show.
Page 1 of 20