Monday, October 19, 2015

TV: Rob Lowe: Non-actor supreme

Rob Lowe is very lucky.  Most good looking men who can't act end up spending their later years selling their bodies.  Like the James Dean wanna-be of the 60s who starred in bad movies before losing it and ended up a contractual 'bonus' in the mid 90s to an actress starring on Broadway -- by 'bonus' we mean the production paid for his sexual servicing of the actress who'd been hot for him back in his hey day.


With the bad acting, sex tapes -- 1988 Lowe filmed himself having sex with a woman and a 16-year-old girl and with a woman and another man -- stud services might have seemed his natural future.

Instead, he's managed to make a career out of bad acting.

Fox's new sitcom THE GRINDER continues Lowe's lucky streak while also again confirming that he truly can't act.

THE GRINDER works, when it works, solely due to Fred Savage who plays Lowe's brother Stewart.  Fred's definitely acting but, who knows, he may also be channeling his frustration over doing scenes with Lowe?

He does a slow boil beautifully, he expresses outrage humorously.  He clearly benefited from co-starring with Jane Curtin in 2006's woefully underrated sitcom CRUMBS.

Second-billed Savage makes GRINDER.

He could be assisted by a supporting cast.

But he isn't.

William Devane has been cast as Dean Sanderson Sr., father of Stewart and Lowe's character.  Devane is a wonderful actor with a natural rhythm but someone forgot to write a character for him. He's a non-stop smile on the page and it's only Devane's tremendous skills which have concealed how poorly written and planned the role is.

Devane also benefits from the easy chemistry he and Savage share (he played Fred's father in CRUMBS as well).  Mary Elizabeth Ellis benefits from nothing in the thankless role of 'the wife.'

The actress' comedic skills are wasted in one scene after another that finds her providing support and nothing else.  Natalie Morales fairs a little better as attorney Claire who strongly dislikes the actor Lowe doesn't bother to play.

Clair excites Stewart because she's immune to his brother's charms and, in a better scripted show, you could see them riffing on this in a manner similar to the Woody Allen-Mia Farrow-Alan Alda aspect of CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS.  But, at least so far, the show lacks the guts to go for that.

If only it possessed the chutzpah of, say, Rob Lowe, it might really be worth watching.

In his entire career, he's only succeeded in one role: Danny in ABOUT LAST NIGHT . . .

Opposite a strong actress like Demi Moore, he had to pull himself up but his talents are shallow and limited so he failed giving a truthful undercurrent to Danny whose whole life is failure and missed opportunities.

He's never again reached that deep.

But his non-performance, the same in the WEST WING and BROTHERS & SISTERS and PARKS & RECREATION and the Austin Power films and TOMMY BOY and . . .

They've given him a career if not any real accolades.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }