This movie industry spoof casts Alec Baldwin as an FBI agent who plans to bust a graft ring by posing as a film producer and cutting a mobbed-up transportation deal (“That’s how films are made,” he tells his boss, “with trucks“). Matthew Broderick, doing an Albert Brooks impression, plays the director struggling to shoot his desert quest, Arizona, in Providence (a landfill stands in for the Grand Canyon); meanwhile, Baldwin becomes more obsessed with the film than the sting. Despite a fun premise, Catch Me If You Can screenwriter Jeff Nathanson’s directorial debut is as doomed as Arizona itself. Planned inanity never gets mad mad mad mad enough, and insider jabs like “I’m not a fake, I’m a director!” don’t have the desired zaniness. Joan Cusack, as a foul-mouthed agent, and Toni Colette, as a histrionic starlet, oomph their way through so-so scripting, but others, like Tony Shalhoub’s cineaste Scarface, have so little to work with that the razing of Arizona can’t come soon enough.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 21, 2004