TV Review: 'Viva Laughlin'
I've seen ads positioning "Viva Laughlin" as murder mystery, as a musical, as a
The thing that's hardest to promote is the actual plot. Lloyd Owen plays Ridley Holden, a self-made businessman in a third-tier
Jackman plays vastly more successful rival casino owner Nicky Fontana, a man so wicked he enters singing the
Yes, indeed, he enters singing, which won't surprise the dozen people who watched the miniseries "Viva Blackpool," but is sure to put a bee in the bonnet of viewers of the entirely incompatible
It's too bad, too, because if CBS is going to spend so much time patting itself on the back for the show's audacity, it would help if "Viva Laughlin" were actually audacious.
If I'm being honest, I was pretty tepid on "Viva Blackpool," which felt to me like a warmed over rehash of Dennis Potter's (
The biggest advantage "Laughlin" has is Jackman, also naturally it's biggest disadvantage. Every second he's on the screen, he radiates star-power, so much so that he leaves Owen, all square-jaw and awful American accent, looking even more generic than he probably already is. The energy Jackman supplies creates a vacuum when he's gone and guess what? He's going to be gone a lot. Despite a few box office duds to his name, Jackman is a long way from needing to retreat to the boob tube full time, so even if he's filmed a number of appearances for upcoming episodes, don't grow too accustomed to him.
Of the other stars, the only ones with the necessary wattage to overcome or subvert the boring mystery backdrop are D.B. Woodside, comfortable with a malevolent swagger, and Griffith, who doesn't sing or act so much as embody her trashy character.
I don't expect "Viva Laughlin" to last very long, despite the inevitable sampling audience for its Thursday (Oct. 18) night premiere. That doesn't mean I won't be watching with perverse curiosity to see what happens, particularly after the already shifting creative team moves beyond the six hours of plot in the original. I won't blame you if you don't stick around with me.