17- The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 13, 1998
NBC's new 'Rules'.is meant to be broker
By Chris Cousino
Daily Arts Writer
When NBC premiered its new comedy "House Rules," the
show was billed as a situation comedy of "Three friends, one
house, no rules." There are two handsome guys, one very cute
girl and a quirky Denver dwelling, but one thing is certain -
this house doesn't rule.
Focused on the daily lives of three college roommates in
their twenties, "House Rules" explores the friendship
between the roommates that stems back to childhood. Since
they know everything about each other and share similar
experiences, they are perfect companions. This relationship,
however, is not perfect for comedy or anything else.
The trio of two men, William McCusky and Thomas Riley
III, played by David Newsom and Bradley White, and one
woman, Casey Farrell, played notably by Maria Pitillo, never
sow emotions nor spark a laugh over the notion that all three
together make the perfect match. The friendship stays plastic,
and the plot stays predictable.
When Farrell accepts an invitation to move to Paris with
her boyfriend, the future of the trio's friendship is threatened
by the separation. Would NBC get rid of one of the main
characters of a new show in its premiere episode? No way in
hell. But viewers are supposed to feel suspense when midway
through the show, Farrell says to the guys, "I'm going, ya
know," and there is a cut to an omniscient shot of all three
gazing into the sky right before the commercial break.
Oooohh!!! Will she go? To add to this suspense, the sound-
track plays a bending guitar lick, just one of the annoying
alternative guitar sounds that are heard at the beginning of
each new scene. After the limo driver exits the door with her
bags, without surprise she decides to
stay because she would have to leave
l z;her dog, or maybe her best buds.
These best buds are two immature,
House blubbering fools, though one is a med-
Rules ical student and the other is a reporter.
McCusky is a cheap combination of
Chandler and Joey from NBC's
NBC "Friends'" always looking for sex and
Mondays at 8:30 p.m. women, cracking quick jokes. He
shows both maturity in his plea for
;*** Farrell to stay and immaturity when he
is afraid to go in the basement because
it is dark.
Newsom fails to bring humor or lik-
able qualities to the character. With
lines like, "Have a glass eye," in response to being asked for
a glass, there is not much to go on.
White also falters with his character of Riley, though more
irritatingly. Best known as "the guy who kissed Jamie" on
NBC's "Mad About You," White over exaggerates his acting.
He throws in lots of hoots, hollers and repeated words and
gets no laughs. Like his cohort, he too is an immature adult,
running out of the basement yelling, "Web on face," with a
fake spider web draped across his brow.
While the two men produce nothing in terms of comed
Pitillo doesn't lend much of a hand either. She is, howevi
the only promising spot of "Rules."
Pitillo is cute in a Drew Barrymore sort of way. Her
character has some maturity, though she squeaks a lot f
eww's and ohh's. Though the typical cardboard mature and-
immature Generation X-er, Pitillo's character shows some
believability in her strength and in her devotion to hwr
What's also believable about "House Rules" is that I bare
ly cracked a smile watching the ill-fated half-hour premierge
Worst of all the line, "It's not like I asked you to make mon
keys fly out of your butt," was uttered by Newsom. Where
Mike Myers when you need him?
Viewers don't deserve to waste time with this babble.
Neither does Pitillo, who deserves more than "Rules." She's,
lucky she has a starring role in the sure-to-be-hit filn
"Godzilla" this spring, because come May, it's a good bet she
won't have this one.
Courtesy of NBC
"bfelong friends" Bradley White, Maria Pitlilo and David
Newsom star in NBC's dismal "House Rules."
Courtesy of warner tres.
With a $180 mil budget, "Batman and
Robin" helped 1997 set a budget recr
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The average
studio film cost a record $53.4 million
last year, an increase the industry said
Tuesday was only partially caused by
"Titanic," the most expensive movie
In the annual industry address given
at the National Association of Theater
Owners convention, Motion Pictu
Association of America President J
Valenti also said marketing costs for
studio films rose to $22.2 million.
The $53.4 million average produc-
tion budget, which includes studio
overhead, reflects an increase of 34 per-
cent from 1996, Valenti said.
Marketing costs increased 12.2 per-
The average movie cost was affected
by "Titanic," which cost $200 mill
or more to produce, and "Batman
Robin," whose budget reportedly
exceeded $180 million. But Valenti
said, "Titanic" only affected the aver-
age figure by a couple of million do!-
Valenti said that while "Titanic" rep-
resented the most expensive movie ever
made, it "is soon about to morph into
the mightiest revenue-producing film
of all time."
"Titanic" has grossed $449.2 mill
domestically in 12 weeks.
But Valenti warned that the surging
costs cannot continue unchecked. "It is
a terrible confluence of hope and also
terror which confront every studio,
every producer, every production com-
In other industry news, movie theate
admissions totaled 1.4 billion, the mot
in nearly four decades. Domestic box-
office returns were $6.4 billion,
largest gross ever.
"In spite of VCRs, laser discs, CD
ROMs, cable and TV stations, sportin
events, satellite home delivery, optic
fiber ... and the World Wide Web; ir
spite of all of these intrusions, mor
Americans visited your theaters ir
1997 than any time since 1959," Valent
told the theater owners.
Studio returns were boosted by ove-
seas income. Latin American b
office numbers surged 13 percent,r-
admissions in Europe were up 6 ,pr-
Valenti said American returns bene-
fited from frequent moviegoers, who
attend a theater at least monthly. These
people;Valenti said, make up 28 pe-
cent of the population but 81 percent 61
Breaking the audience down by eth-
nic groups, the MPAA study sho
that whites account for 66 percent
domestic admissions. Hispanics repro-
sent 15 percent of tickets sold, ard
blacks 13 percent.
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