The Exes: Chocolate and vanilla bear have been reunited! Former Scrubs stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison will give Sacred Heart fans heart palpitations when the duo reunites on Faison's TV Land sitcom The Exes. Braff will appear on the August 29 episode as a womanizing tennis player and client of Faison's sports agent Phil. [THR]
Duff stuff: The erstwhile Lizzie McGuire is returning to television! Hilary Duff has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox Television to develop a half-hour comedy starring Duff — and should that comedy fall through, the deal includes language that allows for Duff to be cast in one of the company's other running series. The purpose is to find Duff a proper starring vehicle, though, which shouldn't be too tough considering her natural comedic timing (she's the female Shia LaBeouf, in more ways than just their Disney history). [Deadline]
90210: Well, that didn't take long at all! Olympian Ryan Lochte will guest on the fifth season of the CW soap, playing a resort guest who encounters Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) and Max (Josh Zuckerman). [TV Line]
Modern Family: In the first bout of new Modern Family casting, Bridesmaids funny lady Wendi McLendon-Covey is set to appear on the third episode of the ABC sitcom's third season as a lesbian mother whose son gets into a playground scuffle with Lily. Playing McLendon-Covey's better half is SNL alum Michaela Watkins, whose brief time on the sketch comedy show is best represented by this clip. [EW]
Raising Hope: Another SNL vet, Jenny Slate (famously of the 'Marcel the Shell' web series) is set to join Fox's Raising Hope as a social worker who visits the Chance household to survey the conditions of baby Hope. [TVLine]
Revenge: Declan (Connor Paolo) will be getting a new best friend in the form of young actor Michael Nardelli (CSI:NY), who has been cast as "a preppy misfit who befriends [Declan] and then proceeds to get him in a world of trouble." So... Tyler Barrol? [TVLine]
NCIS: CBS's popular procedural has tapped Star Wars legend Billy Dee Williams as Leroy Jethro, a "World War II veteran and close friend of the Gibbs (Mark Harmon) clan." [TV Guide]
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Some comedies fail because of poor execution their humor somehow lost in the transition from script to screen. Others like the Jennifer Aniston/Gerard Butler rom-com The Bounty Hunter are doomed from the outset lacking even the potential to be funny even in the best of circumstances. If you substituted Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in the lead roles and screened the film in a theater pumped full of nitrous oxide you would still hear nary a laugh emitted from the audience.
Continuing his tragic post-300 freefall Butler plays Milo a scruffy irascible cop-turned-bounty hunter with a pile of debt and a mounting drinking problem. The source of his troubles we learn is his pugnacious ex-wife Nicole (Aniston) a hot-shot investigative journalist who walked out on him a little less than a year ago. On the trail of a potentially explosive news story career-obsessed Nicole unwisely opts to skip a bail hearing relating to her accidental injuring of a police horse some months prior. When the fed-up judge declares her a fugitive a still-resentful Milo is only too happy to bring her to justice. Nicole unsurprisingly refuses to go quietly.
Aniston and Butler are both charismatic enough to form a decent screwball rapport (though Butler increasingly speaks as if his mouth is stuffed with peanut butter) but neither possesses the comic chops necessary to extract lemonade from the rancid lemons of The Bounty Hunter’s lifeless script which might as well have been sketched on a bar napkin the night before the shoot for all its imagination. Not helping matters is veteran rom-com director Andy Tennant (Fool’s Gold Hitch) whose most significant contribution is a handful of wacky chase sequences borrowed straight from Benny Hill (They leave one side of the screen then return on the other! Whoa!) set to the nu-metal equivalent of Yakety Sax.
This appallingly unfunny rom-com is a crime against comedy. Lock it up and throw away the key.
As dean of a small college Coleman Silk (Anthony Hopkins) has made a nice life for himself--until a false accusation of racism ruins his career and he loses his wife to a brain aneurysm. Suddenly Coleman has nothing--until he embarks on an intensely sexual relationship with Faunia Farley (Nicole Kidman) a local woman with an abusive ex-husband Lester (Ed Harris) who won't leave her alone. The intensity of Coleman's love for Faunia leads him to reveal his long-held secret: He has been passing himself off as Jewish and white for most of his adult life but in reality he is a light-skinned African-American. From there a series of flashbacks to the 1940s introduce us to a younger love-struck Coleman (Wentworth Miller) and reveal the events that led him to his fateful decision. Somehow Coleman's deep dark secret isn't as shocking as it's probably meant to be but the relationship between Faunia and Coleman is--especially when it slips into the danger zone with Lester breathing down their necks.
Wentworth Miller who makes his film debut as the younger Coleman does an amazing job with his role establishing Coleman's quiet yet fierce determination to live a life free of intolerance. And as ever Hopkins is the consummate professional with flashes of intense passion and brilliance in his steely eyes. One does have to get over the fact that a Welsh actor has been cast as an elderly light-skinned African-American but if Hopkins can give nuance to a declaration of how Viagra has changed his character's life (ick) he can pull off the race thing easily enough. Kidman as the dour Faunia also has some stunning moments easily sinking to the depressive depths required of her character--not surprising considering she won the Oscar doing the same thing in The Hours. What really makes you clench your teeth though is when the two of them get together on screen--in the biblical sense. These Oscar winners are so sorely miscast as tortured lovebirds that their sexual moments make you squirm in your seat. It's not the age difference; there's simply no spark between them.
"We leave a stain a trail and imprint " Philip Roth writes in his novel the third in a trilogy on postwar America. "It's the only way to be here." The author goes on to explore myriad themes around this main premise including how we leave our marks how our decisions have consequences and how people can find one another under the direst circumstances. Unfortunately these big ideas get lost in translation on the big screen and the film suffers from adaptation blues. Director Robert Benton and screenwriter Nicholas Meyer gives Roth's ideas voice only through Nathan Zuckerman (Gary Sinise) the reclusive author Coleman asks to write his life story and even that artistic character talks more about how sex is clouding Coleman's judgment than about his own life or ideology. Ultimately Meyer focuses his script too heavily on the guarded Coleman leaving the other characters too little developed. Why has Nathan secluded himself away from the world? What haunts him? Sinise does what he can with the character but there's too little background. The same goes for Faunia. Although she describes in one monologue after another the horrors of her life--she was abused as a girl and lost her two children in a terrible fire--Faunia's hardships seem distant and it's hard to connect with her character. Only the wounded Lester a Vietnam veteran seems made of real emotions and desires--he's filled with hatred and passion--and if he makes only a brief appearance in the film he certainly leaves a mark.