Surviving Eden

Director Greg Pritikin's sluggish pacing undermines this potentially interesting comedy about the pursuit of fleeting fame via reality TV. As a joke, Sterno (Peter Dinklage) submits his dull, overweight friend Dennis Flotchky (Michael Panes) — a guy whose great love is his pet potbellied pig — as a potential contestant for the reality show "Surviving...read more

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Reviewed by Angel Cohn
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Director Greg Pritikin's sluggish pacing undermines this potentially interesting comedy about the pursuit of fleeting fame via reality TV. As a joke, Sterno (Peter Dinklage) submits his dull, overweight friend Dennis Flotchky (Michael Panes) — a guy whose great love is his pet potbellied pig — as a potential contestant for the reality show "Surviving Eden," which drops people from all walks of life into a carefully contrived Edenic environment and challenges them to become the next Adam or Eve. The player who sticks it out to the bitter end wins a big cash prize. Against all odds, Flotchky is cast by jaded producers Maude Silver (Jane Lynch) and Gary Gold (Sam Robards). His toughest competition comes in the form of fellow competitors Sister Agnes O'Malley (Savannah Haske) and "canine euthanasia" technician Maria Villanova (Cheri Oteri). Despite self-consciousness about having to be all but naked for the duration of the series, all three survive until the end, and ultimately Dennis emerges from the garden dramatically thinner and a champ. Suddenly everyone knows the lovable loser-turned-winner: He has his own cultlike fan club devoted to all things Dennis, everyone laughs at all his jokes, and a documentary crew follows his every move. Inevitably, fame and nonstop partying go to his head. Unfortunately, Pritikin takes a timely idea and ignores its more provocative implications. The actual reality show is shown only in snippets — surely it could have been fodder for more off-the-wall parody sequences — and while Pritikin strives for an arch, in-the-know tone a la WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996), his characters are surprisingly uninteresting. The film offers a suitably depressing look at life after reality TV, but rather than seeking a fresh angle, it falls back on standard-issue celebrity-bashing cliches: Flotchky's money is stolen, he develops a drug problem, and he distances himself from the friends and family who love him for who he really is. Only Lynch's over-the-top network executive stands out in this otherwise bland film that tries for satire but neglects to be funny.

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Director Greg Pritikin's sluggish pacing undermines this potentially interesting comedy about the pursuit of fleeting fame via reality TV. As a joke, Sterno (Peter Dinklage) submits his dull, overweight friend Dennis Flotchky (Michael Panes) — a guy w… (more)

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