State of Play: Comparing Bloggers to Bloodsuckers

State of Play is a fractured love letter to a dying newspaper industry, Hollywood's newest assault on Blackwater, and, as if it were needed, more proof that Ben Affleck can't act.

The film, based on a BBC miniseries, follows a print scribe throwback named Cal (Russell Crowe) investigating a double shooting in D.C. The crime turns out to be connected to a much juicier story.

An aide to a popular congressman (Affleck) just committed suicide, and the congressman's teary public appearance to announce her death tips off the press that he was having an affair with her.

Could that affair be tied to the congressman's investigation of a Blackwater-style outfit?

Turns out Cal and the congressman are old pals -- college roommates to be precise. Normally, that would mean a major conflict of interest should Cal decide to report on the story. But that's just one of the logical chasms in this very tall but rigorously entertaining tale.

Cal is forced to cover the unfolding story with his paper's blog reporter (Rachel McAdams). He's old school. She's cutting edge ... except she doesn't really behave like any blogger you've ever met. McAdams exists to squeeze a pretty face onto the movie poster and mock online journalism.

A more relevant movie would have shown the power of the blogosphere, letting McAdams release the story to the public post by post. Instead, State of Play only introduces bloggers so it can compare them to bloodsuckers.

Yes, the film is just as protective of the newspaper industry as every other editor who clings to the way things have always been done for decades. But give it points for up-to-the-moment relevancy. Too bad the film couldn't throw in a tea-bagging gag.