|03-25-2005, 12:48 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
This sounds pretty funny.
TV Review: 'Invasion Iowa'
Thu Mar 24, 9:25 PM ET Entertainment - Reuters TV
By Ray Richmond
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The self-deprecating marvel that is William Shatner carries the day in "Invasion Iowa," a mock reality series-cum-improv comedy miniseries that brings to the testosterone-encrusted Spike TV a long overdue sense of style.
At once a Hollywood sendup and a spoof of the unscripted genre itself, the four-night, five-hour show (concluding with a two-hour finale April 1) starts out like a sardonic jab at Smalltown America. But it quickly evolves into something of a lampoon of showbiz convention itself, one that revels in the stereotypes and excesses so prevalent on movie shoots while illustrating that hayseeds maybe aren't quite as dumb and sheltered as we expect them to be. On the down side, if those who are cast as the butt of the joke aren't entirely clueless, the premise loses a bit of its irreverent steam.
"Invasion Iowa" carries off its mockumentary premise with deadpan aplomb, if not quite as brilliantly as, say, Christopher Guest in "Waiting for Guffman." The gambit: Descend on the town of Riverside, Iowa (population 978), because it's the future birthplace of "Star Trek's" Capt. James T. Kirk (Shatner) and something of a Trekkie convention hotbed. A Hollywood group arrives, allegedly to shoot a kitschy indie sci-fi flick starring Shatner, hiring locals as part of the cast and crew. Of course, there is no movie, only a TV show documenting one. Only six people are in on it: Shatner and a handful of improv actors who portray his spiritual adviser, his assistant, his body double/nephew, his unstable and promiscuous leading lady and a ballbusting female studio exec.
Everybody is gloriously over the top, as they should be, and the local Iowans, while sensing something is a little off, go with the outrageous flow.
But in the first two episodes sent for review, it's really all about Shatner. At 74, he is bloated of face and expansive of belly. But he's also a man impressively in touch with his inner ham. Shatner obviously is comfortable with the idea that he's become a living joke because of his clipped, dramatic intensity, and he's taken that ball and run with it. The self-parody fits him like a glove. Even Shatner's sincere moments in "Invasion Iowa" reek of cheese, making for diverting -- if decidedly unpolished -- theater.
The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.