The Informant! (2009)
Reviewed on 2009 September 29
Loopy movie based on the ADM shakeup, with Matt Damon keeping such a straight face I’m impressed his foundation didn’t crack.
Mark Whitacre (Damon) has many trappings of a successful businessmen who rose high in his company: he’s a vice president of Archer Daniels Midland. We see him drive a Porsche and note a pair of stunning earrings in his wife Ginger’s (Melanie Lynskey) ears, and figure despite his somewhat nerdish demeanor, complete with a small paunch, fussier hair than a lot of women, and expensive noisy tie, he must be good at what he does. He is grateful for his success, and when he learns the FBI is looking into ADM for some issues with one of their chemicals, his gratitude at grabbing the brass ring for himself prods him to clear his conscience. He knows the company is involved in price fixing, something which catches the full attention of FBI Special Agents Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula) and Bob Herndon (Joel McHale). The first problem is, they have to get Mark to keep from blabbing about the case.
This is very funny, but not in an obvious way; I’ve had martinis that weren’t as dry as this thing. The movie starts out deceptively dull and gets more ludicrous as it rolls along, with cheerful soulless music that sounds like it escaped from The Newlywed Game to find a quiet place to die. Matt Damon did a wonderful job as Whitacre, and Melanie Lynskey was great as the quiet, put-upon Ginger. Years ago I’d have found this hard to believe, but with what’s been going on in corporate America over the past few years, nothing surprises me any more.
Three chocolate morsels. And now, I need the book.