Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Curses, Foiled Again

By Devin D. O'Leary

OCTOBER 4, 1999:  I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that the best new show of the season has been located. The bad news is our local FOX affiliate has deemed it "too controversial" to broadcast during prime time.

I'm speaking, of course, about the new comedy "Action," and if you want to see it in Albuquerque, you'll have to stay up until after 11 p.m. on Thursdays.

Don't get me wrong -- the rude, raw and extremely funny "Action" earns that "TV-MA, DSL" warning that's stamped in front of each episode. Originally shot for Showtime, this Joel Silver-produced comedy contains plenty of D, heaps of S and a whole s***load of L. When the show didn't sell to the cable network, producers simply bleeped out the curse words and trucked it on over to FOX.

"Action" concerns an arrogant movie producer named Peter Dragon (Jerry Maguire's Jay Mohr). Dragon is currently dying by the Hollywood axiom, "You're only as good as your last picture." After heading up eight multi-million dollar blockbusters, our potty-mouthed protagonist finds himself staring down a dud with his latest pic, the inauspiciously titled Slow Torture. Suddenly, Hollywood's hottest producer is persona non grata in a town that only kisses up to assholes when they're making money. Dragon finds solace in the arms of a high-dollar call girl named Wendy (Illeana Douglas, last seen in Stir of Echoes). Impressed with her no-nonsense advice (not to mention a few other skills) Dragon offers her a job as his new head of production and begins his slow crawl back up to the top of the moviemaking heap.

A vicious satire of Hollywood vanity, "Action" gets its heartiest laughs at the jabs it hands out to various celebrities. "I'm really sorry you had to see Bruce Willis behave like that," Dragon apologizes to a guest after a party. "That's OK," she responds. "I just hope that cat is all right." With a huge name like Joel Silver (producer of Die Hard and The Matrix) behind the camera, stars haven't been shy about showing up to lampoon themselves either. Already, Keanu Reeves and Salma Hayek have climbed on board for some gut-busting cameos. Even the big man himself isn't spared. At one point, when his restaurant table is stolen by the big shot producer, Dragon refers to Silver as "that fat hack."

All in all, I suspect more viewers will be frightened off by Dragon's nasty behavior than by all the bleeped epithets and randy plotlines. Bear with it though. Dragon gets what's coming to him on more than one occasion. And he isn't a completely irredeemable bastard -- as his romance with Wendy proves (though he does steal a line from Jerry Maguire in courting her).

If you like the show, call KASA at 246-2222 and tell 'em to put it on at a decent hour. If you don't like it, go watch f***ing "Touched By an Angel" reruns over on PAX.

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