“The Informant!” is Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie starring Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a corporate whistleblower in the early ‘90s. The film, which is based on a true story, follows Whitacre, an Ivy League-educated chemist who climbs to the top of the corporate ladder and becomes an executive at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), an agri-business powerhouse and Fortune 500 company in Illinois.
When Whitacre learns about ADM’s illegal price-fixing of Lysine, a food additive, he becomes an FBI informant. After almost three years undercover, the truth about ADM is about to come out and Whitacre may not be the do-gooder Boy Scout he seems to be.
“The Informant!” is supposed to be a comedy, I think. Soderbergh assumes that if Damon gains 30 pounds and wears a bad mustache he can automatically make an unfunny situation funny. Damon is given the responsibility of carrying the comedic weight of the movie, when he is surrounded by actual comedians like Tom Papa, Joel McHale, and Patton Oswalt, who were cast as the straight-men.
Not only is the movie unfunny, it’s also really, really boring. While watching Whitacre, you’re not sure if he’s an inept moron, a criminal mastermind or just a compulsive liar. But, by the time you get to the end to find out the truth (if you’re still awake), you don’t really care.
One of the greatest sleep-inducing aspects of this movie is a voice-over by Damon. Corn, and corn additives like Lysine, don’t make thrilling entertainment on their own, and having to listen to the main character explain more about them doesn’t help.