I love movies and television.  And I love the ins and the outs of Hollywood (OK – honestly I love it mostly so I can make fun of it, but still…).  And usually when the two come together (meaning movies or TV shows ABOUT Hollywood), it rarely works.  I mean there are hits…like The Player, Sunset Boulevard, or The Bad and the Beautiful.  But, mostly there are misses.  And then there are the movies that are set in the world of Hollywood but are more about other storylines and not really entirely focused on the movie business, such as Singin’ in the Rain, Hugo, Extras (well, that’s not HOLLYWOOD, per se, since it’s set in London, but it’s still a TV show about the movie/TV industry). 

Episodes, like Extras, is a joint television presentation between Showtime and the BBC (Extraswas between HBO and the BBC).  And the cast is British/American too.  The two main characters, TV screenwriters from London who move to Hollywood to “re-do” their hit UK show there, are British (Tamsin Greig as Beverly and Stephen Mangan as Sean).  But, the “actor” who gets the part in the American version of the show is played by VERY-American actor Matt LeBlanc, best known for the iconic Joey on the iconic sitcom Friends.  Because LeBlanc is the complete opposite of the character in the British version of the show, the entire show has to be re-worked to cater to LeBlanc’s younger, more attractive character.  This, naturally, causes tension between Beverly and Sean since they know they have “sold out” for success and money. 
The writing is rapier sharp…in all the right places.  The humor is dark and sarcastic but super witty.  The “Hollywood” characters have just the right tone of dishonesty/falseness.  And the relationship between Beverly and Sean has just the right amount of homesickness, selfishness and pride.  If you know anything at all about the goings-on of Hollywood, you will love this show.  Even if you do not know about or even enjoy the “Hollywood” scene, I’m still thinking you will love it. 
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I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. I mean…deep, hearty laughs. Maybe it’s Ricky Gervais…who I like a lot from The Office (The “Brit” version) and HBO’s Extras. Maybe it’s Greg Kinnear, who I also love and find very funny, though here he’s playing straight man to Gervais’ comic persona. The story, like most comedies, in simple…Gervais undergoes a near-death experience while under anesthesia, which in turn gives him the ability to see dead people…all of whom want him to help them with their problems. But, the core of the film provide the audience with original, witty dialogue, great humorous moments and strong comic performances by all…including Tea Leoni, who always has a good knack for sharp comic timing. Like I said, the ending is nothing special…so clichéd it’s lame. But, I think the beginning and middle of the film make up for its lackluster ending. Basically, this is an intelligent comedy I think you’ll enjoy.
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This is a cute, fun movie that will take your mind off of your own financial problems…for 2 hours, at least. It’s not high art, but when you look at the title, if you think it might be an “art” film, slap yourself and then sit back and enjoy. Based on the books Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Brit author Sophie Kinsella, the movie, like the books, feature an excitable, screwball female named Becky Bloomwood who lives to shop and shops to live. The movie, does though, change some major points…first, in the book, Becky is a Londoner…here, Becky is a confirmed New Yorker. Secondly, the man she falls for is her boss in the movie…in the book, that is a different scenario. Do these changes alter the fun of the film over the fun of the books…no. There are plenty of stores in both London and NYC! If you need a fun, entertaining pick-me-up, see this movie!

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