WHAT: Focus Film’s Clooney vehicle based on Brit Martin Booth’s 1990 novel ‘The American’.
WHERE: A state-of-the-art multiplex theater nested in the heart of an Imperial City suburban enclave teaming with massive defense contracting presences and nearby government installations.
THE AUDIENCE: Theater 45% filled, average age probably mid 50s, three or so younger couples in 20s to early 30s.
THE REACTION: A few sniggers and guffaws erupted during the movie (more on that below) followed by sustained booing. Yes, sustained booing from a 50-60 year old demo in mannered D.C. One woman in her later 50s yelled out ‘I want my money back !!’ She got energetic applause and more laughs. People jeered the credits, muttered to themselves, and left mocking it all.
We doubled back to the theater for other reasons and caught the last 5 minutes of a late showing. This younger crowd, mostly couples in their 20s, didn’t boo. But they did laugh at and during the ending. Departing they cheerfully chatted ‘wow that was really bad’ and so on. Perhaps it’s true, the young can shake off unpleasantness more easily.
ALL OF THEM TOOK THE HIT FOR YOU, DEAR READER. It’s really awful. And no, MSNBC, Clooney is not the American James Bond.
‘The American’ fails on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s really three movies: (i) about Clooney (“Edward”), a vague assassin without institutional or professional context; (ii) a bizarrely reverential tribute to a dull blue Fiat auto; and (iii) a sketchy romance between Edward and the winning Violante Placido.