Writer/director Jeff Nathanson has just the tonic for those wanting some laughable diversion. Difficult as it is to believe, the story of the FBI duping a Hollywood wannabe into making a film in order to entrap a mobster is based on a magazine article about a real life sting operation. Agent Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin) feeling trapped in Providence, RI, convinces his superiors to set up a movie shoot, the idea being that the mob-controlled truck company will be needed to haul the equipment. During the crooked negotiations with the film crew the feds will do their own filming of the mobsters making their illegal offer. Traveling to Los Angeles and posing as a producer, Devine interviews a number of hopefuls with scripts. He finally selects Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick), who lives above a dog kennel and sells tickets at the Mann’s Chinese Theater. Entitled Arizona, and allegedly based on the experience of a sister who died in the desert, Schats is a bit taken aback when his producer flies him to Providence and gives him a tour of possible sites for his desert movie. So naïve is he that he accepts Devine’s assurances that a storage chamber can become a Hopi Indian lodge and a parking lot transformed into the desert with a few truckloads of sand and some fake cacti. Delightfully satirizing both Hollywood and the FBI, the film shows to what extent our dreams will lead us in accepting what in our saner moments we know is absurd.
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