By Michael Slezak
Updated September 08, 2006 at 10:00 PM EDT
Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

As my colleague Gary Susman pointed out earlier this week, “Nobody puts Ben Affleck in the corner!” Well, actually, what he really said was that the media borg seems to be giving the Good Will Hunting scribe a second chance at stardom, or decent press anyhow. And judging from this morning’s decent-to-good reviews of his new noir biopic, Hollywoodland, it seems that Gary is correct. Now if Affleck could just destroy the evidence of an unspeakably heinous interview segment/grope session with Montreal TV host Anne-Marie Losique (run, don’t walk, to Defamer to check out the video… seriously) maybe a second go-round with Oscar could be in his future.

Anyhow, check out all the nice things critics are saying about Jennifer Garner’s husband, and once you’ve seen the movie, let us know if you agree.

James Verniere, Boston Herald: “Affleck, who looks as if he was born to wear black tie, even at this hefty weight, brings a bittersweet intelligence to the cynical and hard-drinking Reeves, who knows he is just another second-rater.”

Mary F. Pols, Contra-Costa Times: “Hollywoodland may not live up to its ambitions, but thanks in no small part to a subdued and poignant performance by Affleck, it does achieve something significant by memorializing the actor and his lost dreams.”

Shawn Levy, The Oregonian: “The other, better half of the picture deals with the life and career of Reeves, who’s played with confidence, vulnerability and humor by, of all people, Ben Affleck.”

Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun: “The scenes featuring Reeves, played with just the right mix of professionalism and exasperation by Ben Affleck, are the best things about Hollywoodland and suggest how much better the film would have been without the distraction of a fictional private eye.”

Jack Garner, Gannett News Service: “As played quite wonderfully by Ben Affleck, Reeves is a frustrated, teeth-clenched and ultimately doomed fellow who believes he deserves more out of life than a cape.”

Duane Dudek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Affleck’s lumbering and world-weary performance as Reeves, whose dark personality was the opposite of his family-friendly public image, has the awkward fit of a working actor who, like the man he is playing, has a superhero character (Daredevil) in his résumé and is having trouble finding suitable roles. All of which helps make Hollywoodland Affleck’s most authentic work in years.”

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: “After a series of horrendous flops…Affleck reminds us why he became a star in the first place, with a smooth but sympathetic portrayal of an actor whose ‘greatest’ moments came while wearing a glorified Halloween costume.”

Susan Walker, Toronto Star: “Somehow Ben Affleck is perfect as director Allen Coulter’s Reeves: a mediocre actor ambitious for big dramatic roles, with a weakness for women who wanted to look after him.”

addCredit(“Hollywoodland: George Kraychyk”)