Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 6th February 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This film is a satire about reality TV shows. Set in Los Angeles at a fictional TV station, ABN, it shows just how far one executive will go in order to get that all important audience share. It was filmed, for the most part, in a documentary style which, I felt, made for more interesting viewing.
An ambitious TV executive, Katy, is looking for the next ratings grabbing show. Somebody jokingly mentions the idea of Russian roulette and Katy likes the idea so much she gets straight on with developing the show. She is being followed by a young filmmaker, Rex, who is making a documentary about her. Katy goes to see the Network President and somehow persuades him to allow her to go ahead. She now turns her attention to the advertisers, who, at first are against the idea, but soon come around when they see some of the footage of the contestants that Rex has made. The legal issue also has to be considered, and Katy cajoles the networks legal representative, Don to deal with this issue. Eventually, it’s all go and the show begins with six contestants, Byron, Jewel, Pablo, Brad, Abalone and Rick at one AM, supposedly to minimise the number of children watching. They are all playing for the chance to leave with Five Million Dollars, but nothing if you lose. I won’t tell you any more, don’t want to give too much away!
I found this film strangely compelling to watch, which, I guess, was the whole point of the TV show. It did fall a bit flat towards the middle, but really picked up towards the end when we saw the show as it went out. Eva Mendes was excellent as Katy, really driven and at times quite devious. David Krumholtz also put in a fine performance as the young filmmaker Rex. Honourable mentions go to Rob Brown as Byron, Katie Cassidy as Jewel, Jay Hernandez as Pablo, Eric Lively as Brad, Monet Mazur as Abalone, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Rick, Paul Michael Glaser as the Network President and Andre Braugher as Don.
I find a lot of satires don’t work because they are indicative of the time they were made and, although it was only made a few years ago, I feel the world has moved on. So this is maybe not the greatest satire of the TV industry; I felt it didn’t quite hit the mark in several areas. However, I found it quite compelling viewing and, for me, the documentary style adopted worked quite well. Some very good performances and a really good ending that I found unexpected.
My score: 6.2/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0810945/