Fashionably cynical yet melodramatic, it comes off like a political
MICHAEL CLAYTON — but with a plot whose crux (candidate commits
adultery) is too wan to care much about. Rare for her, Evan Rachel
Wood doesn't do anything memorable as the unlucky intern, and her
chemistry with campaign co-manager Ryan Gosling is nil. Gosling
himself is unsympathetic and kind of a drag; he and an earnest (but
ultimately just as schmucky) George Clooney cancel each other out. The
only actors on screen whose bodies seem to have juices that flow are
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. And in both cases, it's a
flow to watch. Hoffman has a long monologue about loyalty toward the
end that has the fire the rest of the movie lacks. Likewise the scene
where Giamatti sets Gosling straight. Their performances are enough
reason to see this so-so effort. — Jeff Schultz

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