Live!

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/09/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 96 mins

Watchable satire with some nice touches and a strong performance by Eva Mendes, but it's neither as funny, as clever or as original as it thinks it is.

What's it all about?
Eva Mendes stars as ratings-chasing ABN network president Katy Courbet, who conceives of the ultimate reality TV show: live Russian Roulette, with six contestants playing with loaded guns in front of a live studio audience, in pursuit of a $5 million cash prize. Her boss (Paul Michael Glaser) gives her the go-ahead in the hopes that she'll hang herself and once she's pushed the idea past the network's horrified lawyer (Andre Braugher), all that's left is to audition for contestants.

Katy soon finds six perfect candidates: perky blonde aspiring actress Jewel (Katie Cassidy); extreme sports junkie Brad (Eric Lively); Midwestern family man Rick (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose farm faces repossession thanks to crippling medical bills; fashion model-turned-performance artist Abalone (Monet Mazur); gay Latino Pablo (Jay Hernandez); and African-American novelist-in-waiting Byron (Rob Brown). Meanwhile, an up-and-coming documentary filmmaker (David Krumholtz) is recording Katy's every move for a project of his own.

The Good
Mendes is superb as the amoral Katy, while Krumholtz is equally good as the idealistic documentary maker drawn into a Faustian bargain under Katy's corruptive influence. There's also strong support from the contestants, each of whom create compelling, likeable characters that we actually root for during the game, despite their limited screen time.

The Bad
The main problem is that once the show gets on the air, the script has nowhere else to go and it lacks the courage to go any darker – how much more interesting would it have been, for example, for the producers to discuss fixing the results? Similarly, the show itself is badly conceived (they have to give away $25 million in prize money!) and the script isn't nearly as funny as it should have been.

Worth seeing?
As far as TV satires go, Live! isn't even as good as American Dreamz. Rent the far superior Series 7: The Contenders instead.

Film Trailer

Live!
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02 2040 (tbc)

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03 The Vanishing (tbc)

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04 The Last Witness (tbc)

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05 How To Talk To Girls At Parties (tbc)

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Content updated: 26/08/2019 15:50

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