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Review: True 'Informant!' truly funny

September 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Matt Damon altered his body and gained some 30 pounds to star in "The Informant!" Pound for pound, was it worth it?In "The Informant!", Damon goes to work as a whistleblower for the FBI in an investigation involving international price-fixing in the agricultural industry. The subject matter is serious and it's based on a true story, but director Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic") decided to turn the absurdity of the situation into a comedy.

Damon again shows how good he is as an actor with this material. Is he really helping the FBI, or is he a crook setting up his company to fall so he can rise?

"The Informant!" doesn't work up to a shocking, "Oh my gosh"-type moment as the story plays out. Instead it just keeps taking it a step further, making you wonder what's coming next.

Scott Bakula ("Quantum Leap") is fun to watch as the conservative, somewhat bewildered FBI agent on the case. Joel McHale ("The Soup"), as a fellow agent, is a master at making those frozen face reactions.

"The Informant!" has a whistleblower, but as a movie it doesn't have any bells and whistles. It's not about spectacle, it's about the story. And the story is written to amuse you.

It does. "The Informant!" is a smart, enjoyable film.

This is Damon's fifth collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh. While the film takes place in 1992, he chose to use a whimsical score by Marvin Hamlisch that sounds like it's from the 50s. At first, it confused me. But it works with the light, comedic feel of the film.

There are also cameos here from The Smothers Brothers -- a nice surprise which only adds to the eccentric feel of the film.

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