December 24th, 2002 | Published in Uncategorized
James Foley directs a David Mamet screenplay, which is based on Mamet’s play.
The cast is excellent, but the presence of Al Pacino’s “why emote when you can explode?” outburst halfway through detracts from his performance, which is otherwise good, especially when he lays down obfuscatory sales-dada to a recalcitrant client. Jack Lemmon is great, too… alternately abusive, weedling, ingratiating, and overconfident, his Shelley Levene is both piteous and infuriating. Kevin Spacey’s performance is the most reminiscent of the stilted delivery found in the Mamet-directed House of Games, which is similarly entrenched in the argot of its subjects. Alec Baldwin’s few minutes on screen help me like him a little more each time I see them.
The studio-inflicted tagline is “A Story For Everyone Who Works For A Living,” which is silly enough that it’s as applicable to The Godfather.
The 10th Anniversary DVD includes interviews with the director and real salesmen, a clip from Lemmon’s appearance on the Charlie Rose Show, and Kevin Spacey’s appearance at a workshop.