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Salon The Town Review Attacks Affleck for Celebrity Malaise

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 20, 2010 at 5:28AM

While the rest of the world is restoring Ben Affleck to star status after his well-reviewed and well-attended The Town opening, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir is playing Armond White. He detects "troubling signs of celebrity malaise" in The Town, compared to Affleck's directorial debut Gone Baby Gone: "you can't even describe [it] as more of the same. It's less of the same." The movie is "mediocre," with plenty of "unnecessary expositional detail" in the dialogue written in part by Affleck.
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Thompson on Hollywood

While the rest of the world is restoring Ben Affleck to star status after his well-reviewed and well-attended The Town opening, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir is playing Armond White. He detects "troubling signs of celebrity malaise" in The Town, compared to Affleck's directorial debut Gone Baby Gone: "you can't even describe [it] as more of the same. It's less of the same." The movie is "mediocre," with plenty of "unnecessary expositional detail" in the dialogue written in part by Affleck.

Given the presently "debased standards of action cinema," O'Hehir believes that the film's final heist scene could be enough to make The Town a success. The downside? Affleck winds up getting out-performed by nearly everyone else in the film, even if Jon Hamm doesn't get enough screen time. Blake Lively "totally kills," and Jeremy Renner is dangerous and "oddly charismatic." O'Hehir describes Affleck as a "massively vain celebrity who's totally convinced himself of his own authenticity," and pleads for an intervention before he directs again.

Wake up Salon. Affleck's a gifted director who will be rewarded by this successful critical and audience hit with more directing and acting assignments. We need more directors to cut through the studio crap, and he's one of them.

This article is related to: Reviews, Stuck In Love, Headliners, Ben Affleck, Critics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.