I read a lot of bad reviews of this before watching this, and as far as other critics were concerned, it seemed that everyone and their brother, sister and gay lover were giving this a thumbs-down, so my expectations were low. That being said, I rather enjoyed it. I'm all about camp, and I'm all about good acting. Cybill Shepherd not only did a fantastic job as Martha (as she did in the 2003 NBC TV-movie Martha Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart), she morphed into her. Right down to Martha's overenunciation. When telling the hired help that the hors d'oeuvres needed "to be served hotter," it wasn't "hodder" like most of us would say, but "hot-ter" with a very strong "t." You go, Cybill.
The first half was kind of slow, but I started getting into it once she got behind bars. I've always been a fan of "women in prison" dramas, dating way back to Linda Blair in the classic 70s TV-movie Born Innocent, then the "Angels in Chains" episode of Charlie's Angels and the absolute best, one of my all-time favorite shows Prisoner: Cell Block H. I'm so waiting for that to get to DVD! And my prison-drama fancy isn't exclusively female-based: I loved me some Oz and I'm already addicted to Prison Break. So I got a kick out of seeing Cybill as Martha on all fours scrubbing the shower floors and, of course, Martha showing her fellow inmates how to make origami cranes for Christmas decorations. Shut up. Jackie Burroughs gave yet another brilliant performance as Martha's mama (remember her as Mother Mucca in the Tales of the City sequels?) and nice job by Gale Harold from Queer as Folk as stockbroker Peter, even though he didn't have much to do. And speaking of which, that was totally Alec McClure (who played Christian Hobbs, the homophobe closet case on QAF) as Kevin, the editor of Martha Stewart Living. Nice to see people get work post-QAF.
One complaint I have is not about the movie itself, but about CBS: Why would they schedule this opposite the season premiere of Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy? I can only imagine that TiVos and VCRs across America were going full-blast tonight. On the bright side, the new fall season is officially here, and we're getting a lot fewer reruns. That's a good thing.