**1/2 out of ****
Another early Oscar contender is kind of a long shot: a mid-budget, non-independent comedy about corporate crime. This is the typical comedy built for intelligent older people (although the advertisements try to market it to younger viewers), which typically falls short on laughs on many occasions.
The Informant! stars the usually buff and good-looking Matt Damon as an office drone in the early 90's who gets sucked into alliance with the FBI after he admits to his bosses conducting price fixing operations with their competitors. The film is filled with his narration, clever random thoughts on everything from TV show ideas to polar bears' noses. These thoughts rarely have anything to do with what's going on onscreen, so they provide the majority of the laughs in the movie. He wears a wire for them and digs up dirt on all his coworkers. Once the FBI move in and make their investigation known, things get complicated. Scott Bakula (TV's Enterprise) and Joel McHale (TV's The Soup) are both good as FBI agents working with Damon, as well as Melanie Lynskey as his ever-supportive wife, but all these good actors feel wasted in roles that are simply unfunny.
Damon is the real jewel here; his transformative performance (complete with extra weight, glasses, and moustache) is completely believable. His character is a complete bonehead, and as we find out, not a reliable narrator. Most of the laughs come from his performance, because sadly, the script cannot generate many by itself.
The Informant! is a strictly OK movie, a comedy that isn't all that funny but does have its endearing moments. While it may be remembered for it's star's wonderful performance, the film itself is simply not exciting enough to earn the exclamation point in its title.
You can watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hxi-z3ZZBI&feature=fvst