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The Search for John Gissing (2001)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 11 November 2001 (USA)
Matthew Barnes is a young exec on the move up who finds himself a pawn in corporate in-fighting when he's sent to London to oversee a merger. He's to replace John Gissing; Gissing's gotten ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Matthew Barnes
Tim Briggs ... Hotel Clerk
... Francois Fuller
... Linda Barnes
... Dexter
Caroline Holdaway ... Gissing's Secretary
... Donny the Janitor
Lee Oakes ... Cousin Carl Gissing
... Johanna Frielduct
... John Gissing
... Gwenyth Moore
... Giles Hanagan
... Alan Jardeen
... Sister Mary
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Reid ... Man Who Wants to be a Woman (as Dave Reid)
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Storyline

Matthew Barnes is a young exec on the move up who finds himself a pawn in corporate in-fighting when he's sent to London to oversee a merger. He's to replace John Gissing; Gissing's gotten wind of it, and he makes sure that Matthew and his wife Linda, who has dutifully but reluctantly come to England, have a miserable first few days there. By the time Matthew figures out what's happening and declares a counter offensive, it may be too late to save himself from a transfer to Detroit. With Gissing still holding lots of cards and Linda more unhappy by the moment, Matthew must reevaluate. All out war? A partnership with Gissing? Some third way? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

11 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Busca por John Gissing  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Matthew Barnes: The fact that we weren't met at Heathrow was frustrating, I can't deny that. But when you work for one of these international conglomerates like I do you kind of expect that every now and then there'll be a paper jam that takes your life along with it.
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Connections

Referenced in Creating 'The Upside of Anger' (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rickman, yes. Movie, no.
21 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

This movie has the fatal stench of "vanity project." To be an ambitious actor of unknown quality is to be an actor who has to write a movie for himself, then has to direct it so he can cast himself. Mike Binder is the actor/writer/director who knitted this series of clichés and old Neil Simon together as a gift to his own career. No one told him that "The Out of Towners" had been made some 30 years ago, and even the much, much more likable and talented Jack Lemmon couldn't make it's irritating plot tolerable. No one told Mike Binder that there is only gonna be one Ben Stiller. So hopeful he is to be Ben Stiller that he even fetched one of Ben Stiller's former company members, Janeane Garofalo, to play his wife. As the wife, she gets to complain a lot, follow her man from port to port while having no other wish for herself than to settle down and give birth to his children. When you write your own husband role, you get to make yourself a wife like that-- one who's nearly as focused on you as you are.

The writing and directing are uninspired and often lazy. Mike Binder's acting, that present he created for himself, is indeed a watered down Stiller imitation. Unlike his role model, he does run around a lot, which seems to be his acting shorthand for funny. There's his writer/director mediocre attempt to make secondary characters lovably kooky, but by golly, they are poorly realized, never engaging or endearing, just thrown in because, hey, that's what Ben Stiller would do. Mike Binder doesn't seem to have the skill set to make what he's attempting work, hard as he tries to mimic other well-worn comic formulas.

Binder's more self-brutalizing mistake is one even actor/writer/director Kevin Costner made-- allowing himself to be measured against Alan Rickman. Again, why didn't anyone tell him? You cannot out perform Alan Rickman. Rickman is lightly used in the first half of the movie, then dominates the last half. He seems to relish his chance at screwball comedy, and he plays what he's given with deft delight. Although he is the root of all the Binder character's frustrations, Rickman's John Gissing is still the most engagingly appealing character of the bunch. It's a relief when John Gissing is finally found and begins to occupy real screen time.

While Alan Rickman consistently out classes Mike Binder's performance, God bless Alan Rickman's involvement. Without his name on the credits, no one would have sought this movie out. It would have remained with the other vanity projects of needy actors turned writer/directors. Gone. Forgotten-- just the source of the faint sour smell of desperately failed self-promotion wafting up from the bottom of the clearance bin at Blockbusters


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