Here’s a film that tries to connect on several levels, and doesn’t work on any of them. It’s two movies, really, one about George Reeves, who took the part of Superman for a paycheck and then got typecast and blew his brains out. The other is about a two-bit private eye hired by Reeves’ mother who says she thinks he was murdered. We cut back and forth, so we only get a hour for each story. Ben Affleck is stiff and uninteresting as Reeves, and Adrien Brody … what can you say about this guy? He got a lucky break when he was cast in Polanski’s The Pianist, and won the Oscar. Before that, he was a bit player. Now they’re trying to make him into a leading man, and it’s not working.
This is the first feature written by a guy who’s done a lot of TV, and also for the director, who did some episodes of “The Sopranos.” They bit off way more than they could chew. Maybe the story of Reeves, told sequentially could have had some wit, brightness, plenty of humor. But the only thing interesting about him was “Superman,” and we see very little of that here. Before that he was in Gone With the Wind … for about 2 minutes. He was a bit player, and then an aging has been pretty boy.
As for Brody … damn, he was awful. He is such a one-note sad sack. He must have been born looking tired and defeated, and that gets old fast. You keep expecting him to fall asleep. There is one incredibly ironic line in the movie. Brody is talking to Reeves’ agent, who says George was a great guy, an actor’s actor, handsome, always saying his lines well, “Not like these new guys, all the squinting and mumbling.” He’s talking about Brando and James Dean … but he’s looking right at a real 2006 actor who can’t do anything but squint and mumble.