Hercules Laughs A Great Deal At IFC’s New Funny Or Die Mini SPOILS OF BABYLON!!
One of the funnier things you’ll see this year, the decades-spanning six-part faux-1979 miniseries “Spoils of Babylon” brings together a bona fide all-star cast comprising Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, David Spade, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Michael Sheen, Tim Robbins, Haley Joel Osment, Tobey Maguire, and the voice of Carey Mulligan.
The gags are frequently inspired, and recall the effective sensibility and comedic mechanisms that made the much older six-episode parody “Police Squad!” such a blast.
It’s worth tuning into if just for Ferrell, who provides lengthy and hilarious semi-improvised introductions to the miniseries in the guise of project mastermind Eric Jonrosh – an obese, bloviating drunkard (sort of a cross between Orson Welles and James Lipton) who can barely squeeze into the restaurant booth from which he holds court.
Wiig also stands out as an oil heiress who cannot suppress the sexual longings she harbors for her adopted brother.
Stitching together a wide range of ‘70s miniseries tropes – forbidden love, politics, war, jealousy, bloodlust and money – the series is produced by SNL vets Ferrell and Adam McKay, who wrote and/or directed the “Anchorman” movies. It is otherwise masterminded by writer Andrew Steele and director Matt Piedmont, former SNL writers who previously collaborated on Ferrell’s big-screen Spanish-language comedy “Casa De Mi Padre.”
... good for some dumb laughs, and — important in this age when complex television dramas consume so many of our brain cells — it doesn’t demand much of a mental commitment. …
… a star-studded, droll spoof of television miniseries from the ’80s. It’s worth tuning in if only to see “SNL’s” Kristen Wiig back on the small screen and Will Ferrell as the smug, alcoholic auteur behind this melodramatic saga of forbidden love....
... the show has enough originality and sheer wackiness to maintain viewer interest … If ABC's "Betrayal" were this funny, I might actually watch more often. …
Inspired silliness … offers a treasure trove of "Airplane"-style humor. …
... Though I admire the show’s commitment to form in satirizing an entire genre, something about “Babylon’s” overall shtick wears immediately thin. …
… Ferrell’s introductions are slightly more entertaining than the miniseries itself. … It’s no surprise that Wiig excels in the preposterous story. ... “Spoils” is not an extended “Saturday Night Live” skit. It’s a brave, and at times uneven, experiment …
... Feeling a bit like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch stretched and inflated, “Spoils of Babylon” is still a pretty entertaining spoof, provided that much of the audience (and perhaps especially, the targeted younger crowd) has any idea what it’s spoofing. …
10 p.m. Thursday. IFC.
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