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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.
... 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. ...
... 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. ...
... 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. ...
... Well-crafted and a little — sometimes more than a little — unpleasant ...
... slimy and almost pointlessly sordid …
... not a revolutionary show, but it is a fun study of men behaving badly. …
... 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. …
... I didn’t laugh much. I did, however, check my watch, still secure on my wrist, to determine when the show would be ending... .
… [Cheadle] might overplay the smarmier side of Kaan … but he also parcels out precise emotional moments as well …
... 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. ...
... 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. …
... aggressively raunchy and audaciously funny …
... 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 …
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Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Dec. 18, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST
Dec. 18, 2012, 12:52 a.m. CST
Granted that was a lightning deal but even without the deal it was $19.99. Fucking lowest price ever, my ass.
Dec. 18, 2012, 4:28 a.m. CST
I like it but I am old. I wonder how many people in their teens and early 20s are aware of it.
Dec. 18, 2012, 8:37 a.m. CST
Dec. 18, 2012, 10:18 a.m. CST
Season 3 can't start soon enough. I need some more Emmy Rossum in my life.
Dec. 18, 2012, 1:08 p.m. CST
My experience suggests that Python is not as well-known amongst younger audiences as it might have been to you or I (I'm guessing that we were around when they were still somewhat active as a group), but stuff like Holy Grail and some of the more famous sketches are still on the radar of the discerning young geeks. The post-Python work of Cleese and Gilliam seems to hold up well for 'em as well. And my youngish theatre friends are well aware of Spamalot and the like.
Dec. 18, 2012, 3:54 p.m. CST
They know it if selectively introduced to it by an irresponsible adult during their early formative years. My 28 y/o son loves Python, Mel Brooks, classic Looney Tunes and the like; as do his friends. My 12 yr old niece loves it too, so I consider it timeless. Name me a teenager that doesn't laugh at The Holy Grail (and the killer rabbit) and its absolute silliness.
Dec. 18, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST
..But I least I didnt get suckered into buying the Star Treks one disc at a time (or the 79 VHS releases), I held out for the season sets. Hopefully this means we'll get full Python remastering soon on blu...
Dec. 19, 2012, 8:25 p.m. CST
LOL! Don't you hate that? I think of all the money I wasted on sets or series that way and...no, no, best not to.
Dec. 20, 2012, 10:47 a.m. CST
It doesn't even have to be Blu-Ray. Hell, I'll settle for online streaming. I won't even complain about the crappy generic music that will be put in in place of the pop songs that originally aired.
Dec. 20, 2012, 5:08 p.m. CST
@zer0 Was that the John Goodman's brain in FNL's coach's body show or Sela Ward's brain in a jar show?
I keep mixing those two up.
Dec. 20, 2012, 5:09 p.m. CST
But jeez does anyone need Ancient Aliens? History needs to change its slogan to "We Don't Give A Fuck Anymore"
Dec. 21, 2012, 12:22 a.m. CST
It's back for season 5! More Rafi and Ruxin!!
Dec. 21, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST
Sorry, but unrealistic casting of children who look nothing like the parents is a pet peeve of mine.
Dec. 21, 2012, 1:18 p.m. CST
Why the 54 reviews on thus show? Its not good. Neither is cougar town. Bad shows. Period. But i watched HOL for Don and Bell, and hoped it got better. It didn't. I watch cougar for busy, cox , and the one that looks like Marcy from married w children. Fetish i guess
Dec. 21, 2012, 1:32 p.m. CST
Worst season yet
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