House of Lies - Kristen Bell, Don Cheadle, Ben Schwartz - Featured

House of Lies Episode 1.1 Review

House of Lies - Don Cheadle

If you’ve been missing the humorously misogynistic d-baggery of Entourage, then Showtime’s newest half hour comedy House of Lies might just be the show for you.

Don Cheadle (whose movie career is apparently over) plays cutthroat business consultant Marty Kaan, who on a douche scale of 1 to Jeremy Piven comes in at about a 9. Kaan works for Galweather & Stern, a top-tier image consulting firm that is in the business of using smoke and mirrors to make corrupt corporations look good in the public eye. Kaan and his team of professional a-holes consisting of Jeannie (Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars), Clyde (Ben Schwartz aka Parks & Recreation‘s Jean-Ralphio) and Doug (Josh Lawson of… something) jet-set around the world, deceiving CEOs and banging strippers like there’s no tomorrow.

Professionally, Marty seems to have everything (mostly) under control but his home life is another story. In the first scene he is shown throwing around the limp, naked body of a woman who is passed out in his bedroom and tells the audience, ‘Never, EVER f*** your ex-wife.’ Um, good advice. The only soft spot Marty seems to have is for his ‘pre-gay’ adolescent son who’s more interested in starring in musicals than doing typical boy things. Marty is fiercely protective of his son, although that doesn’t stop him from banging his son’s rival’s mother… in the back of a van… while his son performs on stage. Whatta guy, huh?

Maybe House of Lies sounds like fun, but the gratuitous raunch and assholery combined with the cheesy narrative devices (Cheadle breaks the fourth wall so often that even Zack Morris would cringe) leave you feeling more repulsed than entertained. It’s hard to tell if this show is condemning corporate greed or celebrating it. It feels as if it wants to say something profound but the message is lost somewhere between the unrealistic and lazily written business jargon (it feels as though the writers forgot to consult a consultant) and the overzealous and non-sequitor lesbian bathroom showdown between Marty’s fake stripper date and his colleague’s slutty Stepford Wife.

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Although House of Lies has no shortage of strong performers, Cheadle somehow feels miscast after his memorable performance as a compassionate concierge in ‘Hotel Rwanda’. Kristen Bell is good but underused and although the energy drink double fisting of Ben Schwartz’ Clyde faintly echoes his iconic Parks & Rec character, it’s just not enough to keep the show interesting.

If any of this sounds appealing to you, then you can watch the second episode of House of Lies tonight on The Movie Network and Showtime at 9pm.

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