Love Monkey

Thursday, February 2, 2006

You know, I could have sworn I had written something on here about Judy Greer in the past, but it would appear not, which is a crying shame. Really, the entire career of Judy Greer can be seen in Jawbreaker in which she goes from quirky, awkward wallflower to cruel, dismissive, soul-withering harridan. It's not a terribly believable transition in the film, but, for better or worse, outlined what she would be doing for the next five years or so. Wallflower in What Women Want,The Wedding Planner; harridan in 13 Going on Thirty, The Specials. Her perfomance in the latter film (a little seen low-budget superhero comedy that makes a decent companion piece with the live action version of The Tick) as Deadly Girl (whose powers seem to be snide looks at her teammates and off-handed crushing remarks) is fantastic. She shows some really good timing, and manages to pull off attractive, yet evil, better than just about any actress I can think of. Her wallflower roles are generally pretty thankless, but she manages to make them significantly more distinctive than they have any right to be.

All told, I'm pretty well convinced that Judy Greer is one the best comedic actresses working today. Her appearances on Arrested Development certainly seemed to bring a fair number of people around to that position, poising her for some bigger, better roles than she's had.

Which brings us to Love Monkey. Adapted from the novel, but reconfigured to be set at a record label instead of a publishing house, the show feels like an attempt to do High Fidelity as a tv series. Tom Cavanaugh stars as an idealistic A&R guy who gets fired from his major label job to end up at an indie label. An indie label that is either Matador or just decided going to plaster their offices with posters from another label. He's allegedly has excellent taste in music (as it's his commmittment to excellent music that gets him fired), but he keeps a My Chemical Romance poster in his apartment and gets very excited about an aggressively bland singer-songerwriter type, who apparently aspires to be the next Jason Mraz. Not really the poster child for music snobbishness. Given that Nic Harcourt is involved, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, but the music choices all seem overly corporate - even for him.

Perhaps the only really noteworthy aspect of the show (and this is stretching a lot) is the casting of Jason Priestley as one of the circle of best friends. I'm still waiting for Jason Priestly to do another project as strange as Coldblooded, and, while this isn't it, I'm glad to see the guy's working.

The previously discussed Judy Greer plays the best friend/would-be-love-interest. I'm not sure if it's bad writing, some sort of pressure from her agent to turn her into a leading lady, or incredibly awful direction, but she's completely lifeless. The character could have been played by any number of interchangeable young actress, and to cast someone of Judy Greer's caliber seems like a waste.

Still, the prospect of a show with Cavanaugh, Greer, and Priestley about "indie" music has some pontential. Sadly, the current producers and writers (and Harcourt) don't seem interested in really making this show what it could be.

Rating: C

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
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