Sunday, January 26, 2014
Maneater (2009-TV) [UR] ***
Part soap opera, part film-industry tell-all, this is the story of Clarissa Alpert (Sarah Chalke, Scrubs) a gorgeous player in the glitzy, glamorous world of Hollywood. Now in her early 30s, Clarissa believes she is running out of time to find a rich, handsome, powerful husband, so she sets her sights on wealthy newcomer Aaron Mason (Philip Winchester), who is producing a remake of The Gay Divorcee.
Clarissa talks her three girlfriends into helping her land him. Her girlfriends include: Gravy (Judy Greer), who's in love with a married man and is addicted to painkillers; Polo (Noureen DeWulf), a hypochondriac who tries to bed every doctor she meets; and Jennifer (Marla Sokoloff), a good girl who cannot keep her hands off her pool boy. Incredibly enough, Clarissa meets and charms Aaron, but just when it seems things can't get any better, her ex-boyfriend Simon Taylor (Paul Leyden) proclaims his renewed love for her.
Of course, one of the lessons of Hollywood, and Maneater is that people rarely are who they claim to be, and this is true for Aaron, as well as for Clarissa's father Teddy (Gregory Harrison). Based on the book by Gigi Levangie Grazer (Stepmom, The Starter Wife), this 3-hour Lifetime TV miniseries features gorgeous actors, beautiful costumes and sets, sparkling, witty dialogue, tight direction and a simple story arc. While there are a few recognizably derivative moments, there's enough originality to hold the viewer's attention, and Maneater is better than Grazer's earlier effort, The Starter Wife. Sarah Chalke is excellent as Clarissa, displaying just the right combination of silliness, vulnerability and toughness. And perhaps it's not a coincidence that Clarissa bears more than a passing resemblance to Calista Flockhart, in both name and physical features. There's nothing particularly deep or revealing about Maneater, but if you like light-hearted, happy-ending romantic comedies about the Hollywood scene, and you enjoyed The Starter Wife you will definitely enjoy this one.
Labels: comedy, drama, romance
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