This evening, Showtime launches their new comedy called House of Lies. Starring Don Cheadle, the series revolves around a crack team of Los Angeles-based management consultants. They charm arrogant and unsuspecting corporate executives into spending a fortune for their services and do their best to keep the cash flowing.
Others in the new TV series include Kristen Bell, Dawn Olivieri, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Richard Schiff, Donis Leonard Jr., and Glynn Turman.
Is House of Lies worth your TV viewing time or is Showtime just trying to con you into watching a bad show? Here’s what the critics are saying:
LA Times: “Well-crafted and a little — sometimes more than a little — unpleasant, House of Lies also resembles Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air and Thank You for Smoking, colorful films whose antiheroic, well-dressed, good-looking lead characters also spend a lot of time on planes and explain their unsympathetic work to the audience as they go along. .. Cheadle and Bell have good chemistry. But it’s a great cast all around, with Glynn Turman as Marty’s father, Griffin Dunne and Richard Schiff as his superiors, and Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson rounding out his ‘pod.'”
Entertainment Weekly: “Most of the time, House of Lies plays like one of those glossy, empty USA Network shows like White Collar or Psych, but with a butt-load of the sort of sexual activity one can get away with on pay-cable. That means both ends of this creature, so to speak, aren’t all that interesting. People talk fast on Psych because the folks making it think you’ll mistake that for snappy patter; people have grunting quickies in semi-public places on cable TV because they think it’ll turn us on. But there’s no novelty or freshness in House of Lies’ patter or its penis-placement. The show’s crucial weakness is its dead language: The lines have no comic lilt; no exchange between any two characters gives off sparks. When you have an actor with a tongue as adroit as Cheadle, this seems nearly cruel.”
NY Times: “The raunchiness sometimes feels excessive — the writers here seem to have a particular fascination with anal sex — but since excessiveness is the defining characteristic of the show’s universe, it’s probably absurd even to voice the complaint. Everything is delivered at a Red Bull pace, and the series will certainly be drinking-game fodder for business students all over the land. The trigger could be every time the phrase ‘Harvard Business School’ is used. Or every time a character employs a crude expression to refer to a colleague’s private parts, though on this show they’re not particularly private.”
Boston Herald: “This House is mostly built on Cheadle’s shoulders and, in the first few episodes at least, the actor, who has ably toggled between comedy and drama and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in Hotel Rwanda, appears sturdy and engaged. He might overplay the smarmier side of Kaan — pronounced ‘con,’ as in ‘the long con’ — but he also parcels out precise emotional moments as well, in interactions with his son and an emotional dream about his mother.”
Washington Post: House of Lies is far too transparent, wanting too desperately to be like other shows its creators have clearly studied — a little Entourage here, a little Californication there, and perhaps a dash of Hung. In trying to be about over-the-top characters, it forgets to be about people.”
What do you think? Do you think that House of Lies is worth watching? If you’ve already seen it, will you be back for more?
Image courtesy Showtime.