A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's assistant falls in front of a subway - two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered. With a turbulent past connected to the Congressman and the aid of ambitious young rookie writer Della Frye, Cal begins uprooting clues that lead him to a corporate cover-up full of insiders, informants, and assassins. But as he draws closer to the truth, the relentless journalist must decide if it's worth risking his life and selling his soul to get the ultimate story. Written by
The Massie Twins
State of Play is so very Hollywood...which means it could have been better...
The plot is thin, and doesn't really hold up under scrutiny, and yet I'd guess lots of people will love this movie. I did not, and my problem goes beyond plot. My problem was with the casting.
I love Helen Mirren. She always does a good job, and this film is no exception. I also love Russell Crowe, and as usual, he does alright, given what he has to work with. It's not his fault that his character is a complete caricature of a reporter. Robin Wright Penn also does alright with her role, which is very limited and one-dimensional. And then there's Ben Affleck, who should probably just give up acting altogether. He's exceptionally bad in this movie. But my biggest gripe with this movie is in casting Rachel McAdams as the cub reporter. Why does the cub reporter have to be a beautiful young woman? Russell Crowe has just turned 45 and looks it; it's one of many things I like about him. It's clear that he doesn't work out; he hasn't had his teeth whitened; his character is a slob, with both his desk and his apartment giving ample evidence of his disorganization...and yet he's a good reporter, and a good guy to boot. In other words, HUMAN and BELIEVABLE...so of course Hollywood decided to cast opposite him Rachel McAdams, who could grace the cover of any number of fashion magazines, were she so inclined, and who is 15 years his junior in real life but looks even younger; I didn't get the impression that her character was supposed to be 30. Would it work the other way around? Would George Clooney or Brad Pitt, all gussied up for the cover of GQ, and with an appropriately slick apartment, be believable as a hard hitting investigative reporter? I don't think so, and someone in casting didn't think so either; thus we have Russell Crowe, playing a slob, in the lead. So if the male lead must be gritty, why does Hollywood think the counterpart must be a beautiful, perfectly groomed young woman? I like Rachel McAdams and think she's a competent actress, but she simply wasn't believable in this role. There must be young actresses out there who just look like regular people. Why not cast one of them? For that matter, why does the cub reporter have to be young? Why couldn't she be any age, but new at reporting? This might have been a better film if the cub reporter had been a plain woman of any age trying to find her way working with Crowe and Mirren and their experience. I think that would have made this a much more interesting movie, and it's a movie that might actually be made somewhere, but not in Hollywood.
18 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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