30 April 2002 | rsoonsa
Unsubtle comedy proves to be very entertaining.
Robert Wuhl stars in this pungent comedy which is also scripted and directed by him, and few sacred cows of any shapes or sizes remain safe as he casts himself as Stuart Sain, a somewhat naive tour guide for the Fielding Ratings Service, which tracks the television viewing habits of specially chosen American population segments and where a computer malfunction has caused a cellar-dwelling public broadcasting station to fallaciously leapfrog to the top of the rankings. Wuhl serves up an effective pastiche, rather than satire, of the television industry and its program selection process, as well as of a large grouping of liberal archetypes, including the vocation of drug rehabilitation, pertinent as Stuart's wife Cary, played nicely by Maggie Han, is a rehab counselor, while also relentlessly taking aim at organized religion. Although a fair amount of the humour is rather tasteless, and repeated looks at a targeted subject generally fall flatly, Wuhl's main concern is hypocrisy, and his wit is often enough on the mark to make of the work a pleasing affair; it is well-edited, with an enlivening score by Marvin Hamlisch, and a fine performance is provided by Gailard Sartain as the mandarin of the largest commercial network.