Ain't It Cool News (

The Truth Is Hercules
Has Little Good To Say About Showtime’s HOUSE OF LIES!!

I am – Hercules!!

A new Showtime sitcom about management consultants, “House of Lies” comes to us from Matthew Carnahan, who earlier created the short-lived Courtney Cox hourlong “Dirt.”

It stars Don Cheadle (“Iron Man 2”), Kristen Bell (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), Ben Schwartz (Jean Ralphio on “Parks and Recreation”), Dawn Oliveri (Lydia the tattooed lady on “Heroes”), Griffin Dunne (“Damages”), Greg Germann (“Ally McBeal”), Richard Schiff (“The West Wing”) and Glynn Turman (“The Wire”).

A lot of swell actors in a poor show, I say. Its characters are unconvincing, often behaving in ways inconsistent with any reality I find familiar. This would be forgivable were the show as funny as, say, “Veronica Mars” or “Picket Fences” or prime “Ally McBeal,” but I laughed at the “House of Lies” pilot not once. There is, however, loads of pay-cable sex and nudity (for Cheadle, not Bell), which could come in handy in the event YouPorn ceases to exist.

AOL/Huffington Post says:

... To make those engaged in such cynical transactions appealing, or merely interesting, a show's writing would have to be very, very smart and its characters would have to be extraordinarily charismatic indeed. Despite an insanely talented cast, "House of Lies" fails on those counts. ...

HitFix says:

... while it's more entertaining than "Dirt" - thanks primarily to the chemistry of a cast headed by Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell - it suffers from the same wobbly sense of tone and direction. ...

The New York Times says:

... This Good Marty/Bad Marty dynamic may prove more fruitful for the show in the long run than the well-worn punching bag that is corporate America. ...

The Los Angeles Times says:

... Well-crafted and a little — sometimes more than a little — unpleasant ...

The Washington Post says:

... slimy and almost pointlessly sordid …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... not a revolutionary show, but it is a fun study of men behaving badly. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... so pervasively cynical - and, by the way, brilliantly funny - it has the potential of making any viewer feel his or her life isn't so bad after all. …

The Boston Herald says:

... I didn’t laugh much. I did, however, check my watch, still secure on my wrist, to determine when the show would be ending... .

The Boston Globe says:

… [Cheadle] might overplay the smarmier side of Kaan … but he also parcels out precise emotional moments as well …

Entertainment Weekly says:

... The show’s crucial weakness is its dead language: The lines have no comic lilt; no exchange between any two characters gives off sparks. When you have an actor with a tongue as adroit as Cheadle, this seems nearly cruel. ...

USA Today says:

... There is much to admire here, from the snap in the dialogue to the show's willingness to tackle issues of race in the workplace — but there might be even more if creator Matthew Carnahan (Dirt) could learn when to stop pushing. He takes Marty too far, relying on Cheadle's skill and presence to keep us attached to the character despite Marty's behavior and the show's mannered approach. The trick works for now, but it's a bad strategy for the long run. …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

... aggressively raunchy and audaciously funny …

Variety says:

... Although [“Lies”] isn't as smart as it might have been -- falling well short of the movie "Up in the Air," to which it bears a thematic resemblance -- the program is moderately entertaining …

10 p.m. Sunday. Showtime.

Follow Herc on Twitter!!

Follow Evil Herc on Twitter!!


Less Than $8.73 Per Blu-ray Movie!!

Hundreds of Blu-rays Under $10!!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Jan. 8, 2012, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Cheadle just cannot do comedy and comes off stiff!

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    He's a good actor but no amount of writing can help when its time for him to be funny or just chill. Thats why he was terrible in IM2. And Kristen Bell on SHO is just a waste! She not getting naked like that chick on Shameless!

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST

    If This Lasts Long Enough to Get Bell Naked, I'm In

    by Crow3711

    But I don't see it going that long. Maybe if it makes through a full season she'll have to show her tits for the finale, but I would guess it won't happen until season 2 if its a success, so I'll wait. Also, I'd rather have it get cancelled, because then Ben Schwartz can go play the character he was literally born to....Jean-Ralphio.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 10:52 a.m. CST


    by Michael Lunney

    I fucked her.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 11:37 a.m. CST

    This show would have worked if it was stop-animation.

    by MST3KPIMP

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    we see this same show?!?!?

    by j2talk

    of course some of these same "critics" found that POS "The New Girl" funny......

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Nothing with Kristen Bell in it is anything less than Must-See TV.

    by Paul Hanlin Jr

    Not yet, anyway. I'm getting Showtime for the first time ever and that's in large part to KB's return. Give HoL a chance. I've still not seen the pilot yet; I've exercised a great deal of self-control :)

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Does that include "Gossip Girl"?

    by Toe Jam

    She narrates that show, but doesn't actually appear in it. I'd hardly call it "must-see TV," though my wife begs to differ.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CST

    As a consultant...

    by Judge Briggs

    No way I am watching this show ... it's like watching my colleagues be douche-bags on television... no, thank you!

  • reminds me of a joke from Scrubs. Dr Cox says "If they took all the porn off the internet, the most popular site would be" The cast of this show is enough to get me to watch Even if it is bad as those above claim it to be, I'll watch a few more episodes in the hopes the cast can salvage the show.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 1:52 p.m. CST

    The pilot wasn't funny.

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    Only thing going for this show is Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, both of whom I really like watching. But this show concept manages to make their characters unlikable. I think the funniest thing is Cheadle's character's sexually ambiguous son.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 2:35 p.m. CST

    who even uses youporn, get up with the times old man

    by Daniel

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    But, are the sex scenes GOOD?

    by TopHat

    Example: The scenes between Thomas Jane and the blonde girl who used to be his student in HBO's HUNG this past season. THAT'S how to do sex in a premium cable show.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Kristen Bell

    by adml_shake

    No view.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 3:54 p.m. CST

    count on pennsy to creep up the place

    by mrgray

    "Look, why don't I just *give* you my panty drawer?" - MST3K

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 4:07 p.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    You must have missed Out of Sight. Or him as Captain Planet: Or his hilarious turn as Fredrick Douglass:

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Wasn't terrible

    by Bass Ackwards

    But if it weren't for Cheadle, I wouldn't bother giving it the show chance after such a flat, obvious opener.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Don Cheadle only has one facial expression

    by smackfu

    and it's a weird combination of sadness and terror. It's hard to watch someone in a comedy when the whole time you just want someone to give them a reassuring hug.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Emmy Rossum on Shameless

    by Extr3m1st


  • Jan. 8, 2012, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Jean-Ralphio, dance up on me!

    by Ribbons

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Pilot was great

    by VoiceOfSaruman

    Veronica Mars? Picket Fences? Yeah I guess if you like those shows, this one is not for you. I thought the pilot was clever, hilarous, outrageous, over-the-top, cynical, sexy, good times, and very timely topic-wise. Cheadle can do clever comedy brilliantly, like anyone who respects him would suspect. I'm not sure if Greg Germann will be recurring but he was hilarious also. Oh yeah, and Up In The Air was a piece of over-hyped shit. Thankfully this show is the opposite.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 6:58 p.m. CST


    by Truxton Spangler

    Not horrible, but not great, either. But, it's way too soon to pass judgement on the series. Bell's probably not gonna get nekkid, but the chick from the 4400 is no slouch.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Better than....

    by mackmm

    Up all night Whitney Free Agents Terra Nova Hell on wheels Franklin & Bash The increasingly bad decisions of Todd Margaret Tyler Perry's_____ __ _______ Raising Hope Alan Gregory Torchwood: Miracle Day Which means it won't last

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 12:50 a.m. CST

    On the other hand

    by mackmm

    noticing a trend with the pay cable male dramadies 1. Middle aged over sexed male leads 2. Are divorced but maintain a relationship with ex wife...why... 3. They have a quirky child or children Examples: Californication Hung House of Lies Spartacus

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:41 a.m. CST

    This show is the WORST one of the season...

    by TopHat

    ...only for how incredibly SHORT that sex scene was between Cheadle and the mother in the van at the school play. That had to be one of the hottest set ups to a sex scene I've seen in YEARS on premium cable, including the weak crap Cinemax is offering as "softcore" now... AND-IT-ONLY-LASTED-THREE-SECONDS! Her bent over, tits out, cursing, all while her and his kids are acting in Grease? Jesus. Its almost as infuriating as AMERICAN HORROR STORY never putting Alexandra Beckinridge in a decent sex scene wearing that maid outfit. Fucking fascists.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 9:56 p.m. CST

    Christ you guys need to get laid

    by VoiceOfSaruman

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 3:48 p.m. CST

    i didn't like it. i'm trying to, but all signs point to fail

    by rakesh patel

    i work with with these kind of masters of their universe, do really need to see this on tv, and doing a show about corporate america at this time? no, not good. cheadle comes of as an asshole, not even a likable asshole, crazy ex wife, kid, dad ugh.. fast smart dialogue is great if your sorkin, here it just falls flat. I like bell, i liked her in veronica mars, her part here, nothing special. and the ending? the corporate guys win? well it's true in real life, and if the art imitates life, why bother watching the substitute? No fucking CEO hugs.