State and Main
Time Out saysA 19th century romance about integrity, courage and fire fighting, 'The Old Mill' may not be a sure thing at the box office, but it does star the very hot Bob Barrenger (Baldwin) and sizzling siren Claire Wellesley (Parker). Now all director Walt Price (Macy) has to do is convince neophyte screenwriter Joe White (Hoffman) that they really can't afford to build another mill to replace the one that burned down; persuade Claire she must honour her contractual obligation to disrobe on camera; and ensure that Bob keeps his pecker out of the under-age denizens of Waterford, Vermont. State and Main is a lovely title: smalltown USA to a tee, and subtly suggestive of the intersection between provincialism and the world at large. Too bad Mamet's movie is such a toss-off. We've seen this story before inSweet Liberty, After the Fox, and it's no great twist that the condescending movie types are no more sussed than the not so guileless townsfolk. But the problem here isn't with the dialogue or the smoothly professional comic playing (the opening 20 minutes are a masterly exhibition of apparently effortless badinage), but with the grinding, mechanical plot.