The title that makes you wonder, is it a television show or a new fruit-flavored soft drink? Either way, it's pretty flat. (Yes, I did spend 10 minutes thinking up that punchline. Buckle up kids, there's plenty more where that came from.) The WB's summer concert series returns for a second season with yawn-inducing results. During the show, Lenny "I Dated Nicole Freakin' Kidman" Kravitz modeled an impressive array of designer sunglasses, while Fred "Monkey Man" Durst demonstrated his continued mastery of the English language, letting the country's three remaining Limp Bizkit fans know to expect the unexpectable when the band hits the road this summer. Counting Crows showed up to play a song that somehow found its way onto the Shrek 2 soundtrack (I guess even Smashmouth is officially sick of All Star by now), and a band called Hoobastank proved that a dumb name alone won't distinguish you from all the other young rock groups out there. Meanwhile, host Nick Zano did his very best Ryan Seacrest impression. It was so good in fact, that Seacrest could be spotted in the audience taking notes. Or maybe that was Dunkleman.
As someone who's been to his fair share of publicity junkets, I know there's lots of humor to be found in those venues. Harried, self-absorbed publicists? Check. Snobby stars who'd rather be at home in their Jacuzzis? Check. Pseudo-journalists asking the dumbest questions imaginable? (Did you do any research to play the part of the mute alcoholic bed-wetter?) Big ol' check. So why can't this movie wring a single laugh out of its junket setting? My theory is that Billy Crystal wrote the entire script the night before he turned up on set and all the actors were too busy scanning the trades for other jobs to notice. At least my man Seth Green gets to steal the spotlight once again (Oz 'n' Willow 4eva!). Side note: Onscreen sisters Catherine Zeta-Jones and Julia Roberts apparently did not get along during the filming of the movie. Yet for some reason Steven Soderbergh decided to reunite them for Ocean's 12. Hope he packed lots of Excedrin...
Celebrity Poker Showdown
Cry beginner's luck all you like, but Rosario Dawson played a mean game of poker for a first-timer. Come to think of it, that may have been her best acting job to date. It certainly put her work in Josie and the Pussycats to shame. She even managed to stare down Wanda Sykes, which isn't an easy thing to do. (Just ask poor Travis Tritt. Still wanna do that tour with her now Travis?) But my deepest sympathies are reserved for host Dave Foley, who had to open the show with the following punchline: "Welcome to Celebrity Poker Showdown, the only show on Bravo where if you refer to a straight guy, it's because he has five cards in sequence." Yeah Dave, we all miss NewsRadio, too.
The Jamie Kennedy Experiment
I remember seeing the promos for this series when it debuted on the WB about two years back. The first thought that went though my head was, "Who is Jamie Kennedy and why is the WB allowing him to perform his experiments on national television?" Then I realized he was the dorky dude from Scream (you know, the one who didn't look like Johnny Depp) and I immediately stopped caring, just like 95 percent of America. On tonight's episode, Jamie annoys a bunch of people in a restaurant.
Frontline: The Way the Music Died
This Frontline special is just like a sub-par rock song: kinda sloppy and all over the place. As various execs and musicians (including a hilariously bitter David Crosby — I wonder if Melissa Etheridge knew about his anger-management issues?) bemoan the sorry state of the music industry, the camera follows the birth of two new acts. The first is Sarah Hudson (cousin of Kate and daughter of Mark), an aspiring pop star who sports Kate Winslet's Eternal Sunshine flame-colored dye job and sings annoyingly catchy songs with titles like "Naked Truth" and "Girl on the Verge." The other is Velvet Revolver, a Frankenstein's monster of a rock group made up of refugees from Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Both claim to be different from all the other acts out there, but their music pretty much indicates otherwise. At the end of the hour we learn that Hudson's album went nowhere, while Velvet Revolver actually made a dent on the charts. Next stop, Pepsi Smash!
Lewis Black: Black on Broadway
The Daily Show correspondent takes his grousing to the Great White Way, covering every topic from corrupt CEOs to tap water. On the stand-up comic scale, Black seems to fall somewhere in between Sam Kinison and Chris Rock. He's got Rock's attitude without his swagger and Kinison's filthy mouth without his volume. I also detected a note of George Carlin in his act, particularly whenever he launched into his political material. Hey, at least he chose good people to model himself after. Now he just needs to work on the jokes.
Scene: The Warner Brothers cafeteria in Hollywood.
Characters: Two studio suits.
Suit #1: I've been thinking — there are too many comic-book movies being made today. Every time one of 'em makes a bundle, the boss calls up and wants another one. I mean they're talking about a Red Tornado movie now. Who the hell is that?!
Suit #2: So what do you propose we do?
Suit#1: I say we greenlight the worst comic-book movie ever made. That way, we'll kill the genre off forever and get back to the movies we really love to make, stuff like Pluto Nash. Now that one had franchise potential.
Suit#2: The worst comic-book movie ever made? Hate to break it to you, but somebody already made Daredevil. Or did you mean Superman IV?
Suit #1: Okay, so we've got some tough competition. But here's the plan. Let's take a secondary character, put them in their own movie and then completely rewrite them so they don't resemble the comic-book character at all! It's foolproof!
Suit #2: So you wanna make a Jimmy Olsen movie? I hear Neil Patrick Harris is available.
Suit #1: Nah, too minor. I'm thinking... Catwoman.
Suit #2: You mean Batman's Catwoman?
Suit #1: Not anymore. I'm talking about our new improved Catwoman. We'll give her actual cat-like powers, an S&M outfit and a stupid name. Something like Patience Price.
Suit #2: You realize Michelle Pfeiffer will never agree to this...
Suit #1: Forget Pfeiffer. That chick's like 40 now, she's ancient. Plus she can actually act. That would spoil the whole plan. No, I'm thinking someone like Ashley Judd, only with even less personality. And bigger boobs.
Suits #1 and #2 [in unison]: Halle Berry!
Suit #2: Perfect. Every comic-book fan already hates her for ruining Storm.
Suit #1: Then we'll hire a foreign director with no Hollywood experience.
Suit #2: And who can't speak English! That's how they killed off the Alien franchise.
Suit #1: Exactly. And let's get a real wacko to play the heavy.
Suit #2: Sharon Stone's still sleeping on my lawn.
Suit #1: Well, I was thinking Anne Heche, but Sharon's okay. She's still paid in Botox, right?
Suit #2: You know it! I think we've got a good movie here, Max.
Suit #1: No, no, Leo — not a good movie. An awful movie. A spectacularly awful movie.
Together: God bless Hollywood!