Apparently, The Marine wasn’t screened for critics, so we’re forced to review the reviews of Man of the Year instead. This is shaping up to be a huge PR day for Jon Stewart, who is mentioned almost as many times as the film’s actual star, Robin Williams (pictured, center). The critics tend to agree that the tone of the film is uneven (”It’s hard to balance a scene of Williams addressing Congress in a George Washington get-up against somebody literally being run down by a truck,” writes The Arizona Republic’s Bill Muller) and that Williams’ character, a TV pundit-turned-presidential candidate, is simply not that hysterical. ”Many actors were paid to pretend Williams is still funny in Man of the Year,” is how St. Paul Pioneer Press critic Chris Hewitt puts it.
Most people are wondering where the film went wrong, and the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips explains the leading theory as well as anyone: ”Writer-director Barry Levinson’s dispiriting oddball of a project features all sorts of people you’d love to watch in a really good Levinson film, from Laura Linney to Christopher Walken (pictured, right) to Jeff Goldblum to Lewis Black (left)… But what does it say when the best gag in a movie about contemporary politics and voter cynicism concerns the TV show JAG? It says, I think, that Levinson is nervous about muddying his mainstream effort with anything touchy.” To offer more would just be redundant. And too painful.