The exclamation point is the whole problem. Adapted from Kurt Eichenwald's nonfiction book, this fact-based farce tells the story of Mark Whitacre, a high-ranking Archer Daniels Midland executive who blew the whistle on a global price-fixing scheme in 1992 but turned out to be a giant headache for the U.S. Justice Department when skeletons began tumbling out of his own closet. Matt Damon gives a sure-handed comic performance as the ingratiating, self-dramatizing businessman, and Steven Soderbergh imparts a brisk, breezy pace to the snowballing narrative. Unfortunately, every laugh is bludgeoned nearly to death by Marvin Hamlisch's jokey score of neo-James Bond riffs and 70s sitcom melodies; I liked the movie quite a bit, but by the end I felt as if I were at a live TV show with a blinking sign ordering me to LAUGH. With Scott Bakula and Melanie Lynskey. R, 108 min.
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