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Overall Rating
3.74

Awesome: 8.7%
Worth A Look60.87%
Average: 26.09%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 5 user ratings


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TV Set, The
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by Laura Kyle

"A really funny inside joke."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL: What The TV Set lacks in universal appeal, it makes up for in hilarity. The TV Set is a sometimes goofy, sometimes dark satire about the life of a wannabe television show. And it sure has a lot of nasty things to say about the current state of television -- but things only entertainment industry insiders and astute TV viewers will truly "get." Its predominant flaw is that writer/director Jake Kasdan is a little too bent on delivering his message to really commit the TV Set to being a full-fledged, fully-fleshed out movie. But it sure is funny.

David Duchovny plays Mike, whose pitch for a TV show has spawned a pilot that has a good chance of evolving into a successful series. As long as Mike can put up with the production company head (Sigourney Weaver), who's intent on ripping every bit of artistic merit out of his show, and the young, hip cast that includes an aspiring Hollywood stud whose style of acting changes from one take to the next, his show might just make it on the air! But by that time, will he really want it to?

Duchovny finally takes on a character with real personality and he is effortlessly awesome in The TV Set. It's also a joy to watch Weaver in action, whose last-minute casting (Ben Stiller was originally to play her character) is just genius. The supporting cast, too, is a real treat.

The TV Set is a sobering comedy. Most of the laughs are built on a foundation of true frustration and tragedy. As Mike's creative dream gets filtered for a mainstream audience, moviegoers will appreciate the comedy that's born of people's stupidity but by the end of it all, feel a little depressed and probably less likely to flip on the tube when they go home.

In this sense, The TV Set is a sad story about people who don't stick up for what they believe in, the mass of Americans whose standard of quality for entertainment is disturbingly low, and at the center, a writer who's gradually losing his mind. And indeed, mixed in with all the laughter, there is a good chunk of moving drama -- but it's delivered in small doses.

Where The TV Set runs into problems, is that a good handful of its jokes are scripted with a certain audience in mind -- an audience that perhaps has been on a TV production set before. No jokes will go over anyone's head, but they seem intended for a select few. Still, most have seen enough movies that also run these inside jokes that they probably have learned enough by now to completely get every one of them.

The TV Set's plot is driven mostly by Kasdan's biting insight, and so it's a shame that his meaty characters take a back seat to the Message. There are scenes I wish had gone longer, subplots I wish had developed. But maybe that's the main joke of the film -- the characters and stories that deserve an audience too often don't get one.

But these criticisms are really a testament to Kasdan's novel screenplay and compelling cast, in that The TV Set leaves you wanting so much more.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14395&reviewer=369
originally posted: 10/24/06 07:51:34
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2006 Austin Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2007 Florida Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/08/07 steve newman Very enjoyable. I bet a lot of"real actors" got all the in jokes - USA TV, its sad!!! 4 stars
9/29/07 Derek What a Great Film! Kasdan is becoming my favourite director. Really Amazing Film! 5 stars
6/15/07 William Goss Amusing satire of television industry simmers instead of stings, which isn't a bad thing. 4 stars
3/24/07 Mark efilmcritic's Laura Kyle is right on the money. Savvy TV fans and insiders will delight. 5 stars
5/04/06 John Higgins Far cry from the biting satirical power of "Network"; didn't care about the story's outcome 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Apr-2007 (R)
  DVD: 25-Sep-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
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[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  Jake Kasdan

Written by
  Jake Kasdan

Cast
  David Duchovny
  Sigourney Weaver
  Ioan Gruffudd
  Judy Greer
  Fran Franz
  Lindsay Sloane



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