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September 20, 2009
Review - " The Informant! "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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The Informant! movie poster - Matt Damon
Most of my laugh-out-loud moments came from Whitacre's inner monologue. At first his thoughts give us clues about the
decisions he makes - he seems to be obsessed with conspiracy theories, so it's no surprise that he's relishing in his
involvement with the FBI. As time goes on, however, his stream of consciousness shifts from wacky observations about the
world at large to ways he can manipulate it to his own benefit.

Damon really commits to his character an executive who decides to help the FBI build a case against his bosses. Damon is as
far away from his Bourne character as he could possibly go, as a slightly overweight, lurching and dowdy looking loner.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the film is the casting. There is a plethora of character actors in small roles that
populates the film - some fit, but some stand out so much it’s distracting. Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from the “Back to the Future”
series), Eddie Jemison (“Oceans 11,” “12” and “13”), comedians Patton Oswald and Bob Zany, and both of the Smothers
Brothers are featured in the film. None really add or take away from the storyline, but you might spend time trying to figure
out, “Where have I seen these people before?”

There is even a cameo by Candy Clark, the platinum blonde Debbie Dunham from “American Graffiti” (1973), who is virtually
unrecognizable as Whiitacre’s mother.

Melanie Lynskey, (Rose from “Two and a Half Men”), does a good job as Whitacre’s long-suffering, but supportive wife,

Several devices used by Soderbergh seem to fit the story, without really improving the plot. The retro soundtrack by Oscar-
winner Marvin Hamlish is stylistic and funny at times, and Damon provides a voice-over during scene changes about random
bits of information that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot.

It is both funny and disturbing that
Whitacre would be thinking about all
this peripheral information as he goes
through this trying time in his life.

In the end, Whitacre is not what you
think he was at the beginning, and the
film takes a darker and more
disturbing track.

There's fun to be had here, if you
manage your expectations. This is not
your typical comedy: the humor is dry,
but the laughs are there - just try not
to lose focus along the way.
Scott Bakula & Matt Damon in The Informant!
The Informant!
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey

The coming attractions curse has struck again. Previews for the new
Matt Damon film, “The Informant!” made one believe that the movie was
going to be a funny romp about a whistle blower at a Midwestern

The movie is campy right from the start, almost making an
announcement as cheesy music plays over the neon bubble letters of
the credits. The move is set in the early '90s despite the '70s ambiance.
While many of the jokes hit you over the head, don't expect the key plot
elements to have the same effect.

Matt Damon literally transforms himself into Mark Whitacre, the vice
president of real-life lysine developing company ADM. On the surface,
Whitacre fits right into the upper-middle class Midwestern stereotype -
he's an overweight, mustachioed man who sits down to dinner with
his wife and sons every night. In what seems to be a sudden attack of
conscience, Whitacre takes it upon himself to rat out ADM's price-
fixing schemes to two FBI agents (played by Scott Bakula and a straight-
laced Joel McHale). The more involved Whitacre gets with the FBI, the
more eager he is to help take down the company that made him rich.
The agents (and the audience) quickly begin to wonder - what's in it
for him? Bakula is very good as the confused agent who continually
realizes that there is more to Whitacre than meets the eye. Turns out
Whitacre suffers from bipolar disorder, and the deeper he gets into the
case, the more guilty he begins to seem.