Damon co-wrote the script with co-star John Krasinski (with story help from Dave Eggers). Damon plays a pitchman trying to secure natural gas drilling rights in a small town. Krasinski plays an environmentalist who comes to town to stop him.
The charms of Damon and the ever-excellent Frances McDormand play nicely in the fish-out-of-water setup.
But when it gives way to shamelessly becoming a political cause film, the movie surrenders to some eye-rolling cheesiness to make its point.
The sheer talent involved — including Van Sant — should have known better. The overall failure is magnified by the fact that the other primary contributor to “Good Will Hunting,” Ben Affleck, made one of the year’s best films in “Argo.”