New York Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe), runs the city on the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” model. Unfortunately, the citizens are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to a pricey housing development that may be detrimental to New York’s working class.
On the eve of re-election, Mayor Hostetler summons former NYPD cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg), who’s now a private investigator, barely eeking out a living. The mayor tells Billy he thinks his wife is having an affair and needs photographs. Billy agrees to take the job and gets started following the lovely Cathleen Hostetler (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
Meanwhile, Billy’s relationship with his live-in girlfriend Natalie Barrow (Natalie Martinez) is on the rocks. An actress, Natalie has just starred in her first independent film and takes Billy to see the premiere. Billy is rankled however, when he sees Natalie in a very graphic sex scene — he clearly wasn’t expecting this.
Soon though, Billy is consumed with following Mrs. Hostetler only to discover she may or may not be having an affair with the campaign manager of the mayor’s political rival, Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler). When Andrews is murdered, Billy suspects there’s more going on in Manhattan than just marital infidelity.
Wahlberg is excellent as the moody P.I. who’s not afraid to fight for justice, while Crowe makes the perfect slippery political figure who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Zeta-Jones plays the secretive Cathleen with class and wit, while keeping her vulnerable.
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