by Tony Medley
I got my
familiarity with Hugh Laurie through his comedic performance in
Blackadder, the odd British sitcom that was set first in the 16th
Century and then in the trenches of World War I. He also played Bertie
on Jeeves and Wooster, a less successful and less funny sitcom.
So it was difficult for me to sign on to him in the TV dramatic series
He is a terrific
actor and he shows it in this very black comedy about two extremely
close-knit families that face an incredible moral crisis. Sounds like a
good drama, but this had me laughing out loud throughout.
directed by Julian Farino, from a script by Jay Reiss and Ian Helfer,
while everyone is funny in this movie, the person who really carries the
humor is Alia Shawkat, who is Laurie's daughter and who narrates the
film. Some of her lines had me in serious belly laughs.
always a terrific reactor and he carries that quality into this film as
many of his laughs are caused by his reactions to what's going on.
while clearly immoral and upsetting, is realistic. David and Paige
Walling (Laurie and Catherine Keener) and Terry and Cathy Ostroff
(Oliver Platt and Allison Janney) live next door to each other and are
best friends. Their daughters, Vanessa Walling (Shawkat) and Nina
Ostroff (Leighton Meester), once best friends are estranged. Nina breaks
up with her fiance, Ethan (Sam Rosen), and comes home and all hell
Told tongue in
cheek by Vanessa, the incidents and their reactions to them are
hilarious but deep and dark. Meester is especially effective in a role
that requires broad range.