movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] The description is misleading – this movie was nothing at all like what I expected.

PLOT SUMMARY: The U.S. government decides to go after a corporation accused of price fixing. But they can’t do it without an informant willing to give them insider information. DOES THIS SOUND REALLY DRY? In fact, this is pretty much a cringe-comedy! Lots of laugh out loud moments.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Bipolar liar wastes taxpayer money.

PEOPLE: Directed by Steven Soderbergh, who mostly disappoints me with movies. The Girlfriend Experience was decent but not spectacular. Ocean’s Eleven was okay, but not my kind of movie, and ultimately disappointing — why make a sequel to it? I thought Solaris was awful. Didn’t really care for Full Frontal. Sex, Lies, And Videotape was good, but maybe it could have been better. Traffic and Erin Brockovitch were good, but more so for the politics and subject matter than because they were Soderbergh films. So I’m not really a Soderbergh fan, because his movies are good but not great. I think this one might actually be my favorite Soderbergh movie ever.

Starring Matt Damon (I never realized it was him, he really reminded me of Kids In The Hall‘s Bruce McCulloch in this movie–he gained weight for the role) and Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap!!!). The Informant’s wife was played by Melanie Lynskey (Coyote Ugly, But I’m A Cheerleader, Detroit Rock City, Heavenly Creatures, Sweet Home Alabama).

Brief part with Patton Oswalt. Who I know recognize, thanks to his role in Sex & Death 101. And voice-actor GOD Frank Welker played Mark Whitacre’s father?!?! I wish I’d noticed that!

QUIRKS: Paranoia. Lies. Corporate whisteblowers. Paranoia. Lies. Paranoia. Lies. Paranoia. Lies.

POLITICS: Corporations. Need I say more?

GOOD STUFF: The hilarious narration of his crazy thoughts.

BAD STUFF: Movies about FBI investigations often aren’t very exciting.

CONCLUSION: We came in this movie with low expectations, based both on the plot summery and the fact that it was a Soderbergh film. However, this movie kept surprising us, making us laugh, and twisting in ways that weren’t expected. The crazy narration — NOT pointless like some people claim — helped characterize the main character, and brought us many laugh out loud moments. By the end, the comedic elements had gone from absurd LOL-comedy, to, “Oh no! Stop! I can’t believe this!” cringe-comedy. The comedic angels made what would have been a boring story far less boring. There’s dramatic/real-life elements AND comedic elements, sprinkled all the way through. Way more interesting than we thought. I was thinking this would scrape by as a generic pass, but we both ended up rating it higher than 90% of movies we watch.

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.7/10, Netflix: 2.8/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.5/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Best Soderbergh movie yet? See it!

SIMILAR MOVIES: The narrated thoughts of the main character definitely remind some viewers of Patrick Bateman’s character in American Psycho.

MOVIE QUOTE: Mark Whitacre: “Paranoid is what people who are trying to take advantage of you call you to get you to drop your guard!”

Mark Whitacre: “When polar bears hunt, they crouch down by a hole in the ice and wait for a seal to pop up. They keep one paw over their nose so that they blend in, because they’ve got those black noses. They’d blend in perfectly if not for the nose. So the question is, how do they know their noses are black? From looking at other polar bears? Do they see their reflections in the water and think, “I’d be invisible if not for that.” That seems like a lot of thinking for a bear.”

Mood: annoyed
Music: Nine Inch Nails – Letting You