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August 01, 2005 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-08-01

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 1, 2005
Apolitical'Over There'1 .f
follows soldiers in Iraq
By Eakta Khangura anyone has seen fit to do so during a war that's still
For the Daily going on. As a result, FX continues to uphold its
growing reputation for intense and provocative
shows; "Over There" joins a bold cast alongside
"Nip/Tuck," "Rescue Me" and even "The Shield."

Steven Bochco has slam dunked his way into Surprisingly apolitical, Bt
yet another Emmy-worthy show choose to concentrate on the c
with FX's new war drama "Over Over the issues of war, giving us t
There." Not unlike "Hill Street thize with the troops who real
Blues" and "NYPD Blue," Boch- There The show follows an eclectic
co brings yet another thought- Wednesdays from markedly different back
provoking and novel idea to the at 10 p.m. headed by Erik Palladino ("ER
small screen to prove once and FX aka Sgt. Scream due to his pet
for all that mind-numbing "real- shouting orders at his troops. T
ity" TV and reruns have not yet accomplished derson as Bo Rider, a bright-ey
their grand scheme at total summer domination. terback in love with the army;
"Over There" is the collaborative effort of Frank Dumphy, anIvy League-
Bochco and Chris Gerolmo. Set in present-day because he was stupid enough
Iraq, the show takes a refreshingly honest look and Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jone
at the ongoing conflict through the eyes of one who spends his duty cozying up
Army unit on its first military tour. Jane. Then there's Nikki Aycox
Although the idea itself is not new (following a Mitchell, an enigmatic 18 year
group of young soldiers as they attempt to survive tude, and Lizette Carrion in tf
the horrors of war), it might well be the first time Del Rio aka "Doublewide,"a
Leads drive stock
By Zach Borden tancy to get back into the dating game.
Daily Arts Writer She's ultimately forcedto date again when
her sister (Elizabeth Perkins) posts a pro-
"E file for her on a dating site. Citing that she
loves dogs, the profile catches the atten-
In "Must Love Dogs," Diane Lane tion of the friend of anotherbroken-heart-
plays a divorced preschool teacher in her ed divorcee (John Cusack) who spends
40s, a far cry from the his hours building boats and obsessively
searching housewife Must Love watching "Doctor Zhivago." The sparks
in sordid affair with Dogs are there as Jake falls for the confused
a kinky French book romantic, but Sarah's more resistant as she
dealer she took on At the Showcase also sets her sights on one of her student's
in "Unfaithful," but and Quality 16 fathers (Dermot Mulroney).
what're you going to warner Bros. Based on the chick-lit novel by Claire
do. Since her Academy Cook, "Must Love Dogs" was adapted
Award nomination, the luminous actress and directed by Gary David Goldberg,
has jumped fromone romantic comedy to best known for creating the award-win-
the next, this time following in the "You've ning Michael J. Fox sitcoms "Family
Got Mail" tradition and tackling the grow- Ties" and "Spin City." It would seem like
ing trend toward online dating. a given that someone who's mastered
Sarah (Lane) spends most of her time the art of crafting robust half-hour com-
moping around, fighting off a deep reluc- edies would churn out a witty romance,

ochco and Gerolmo
haracters rather than
the chance to empa-
ly are over there.
group of soldiers, all
grounds. The cast is
") as Sgt. Chris Silas,
nchant for incessantly
here's also Josh Hen-
yed high school quar-
Luke MacFarlane as
grad nicknamed Dim
to land in the Army;
s as Smoke, a soldier
p with 01' Lady Mary
x as "Mrs. B" Brenda
old with a chilly atti-
he role of Esmerelda
a tough-as-nails new

mother who proves women have just as much power
on the battlefield as men.
Although much of "Over There" follows front-
line combat, there are small snippets that show
those who are left behind and must deal with the
aftermath and heartbreak at the absence of loved
ones. It's the inclusion of their stories that makes
the show so relevant for those of us watching
from the home front.
Bochco and Gerolmo never retreat from the
harsh realities of war. Gunfire and explosions are

everywhere, but so too is the pain of realization
in the soldiers as they look upon the bodies of
those they have slain. One can watch the naivete
slip away from their faces as they become con-
scious.of the fact that these are human lives that
were taken by their own hands.
No preaching. No politicizing. No debate about
right or wrong. "Over There" is single-minded and
powerful, a raw singular look at war through the
eyes of several young soldiers who are in for the
fight of their lives.

but surprisingly, Goldberg's screenplay is
downright flat and fails to engage audi-
ences with a derivative narrative of loss
and hearts on the mend.
Unfortunately, Goldberg seems per-
fectly content to ground his humor and
characters in all the usual conventions of
the genre. The vulnerabilities of the char-
acters are predictable and their quirks
have been explored better in other screen
romances. The plot is also loosely drawn
and often tiresome, as Sarah is given one
opportunity too many to wallow and show
she's afraid of getting hurt again.
Worse yet, the movie's "laughs," which
are scant enough as it is, are mild and unin-
spired. Its humor is ignited from the most
predictable situations, mainly the uncer-
tainty of Internet dating (which Goldberg
also critiques in a random scene featur-
ing Stockard Channing). He also intro-
duces plenty of throwaway characters,
such as a gay teacher that Sarah knows
and Jake's womanizing best friend. The
film is topped off with generic directorial
style (complete with dating stories that
bookend the movie), making it clear that
Goldberg's talents simply aren't suited for
90-minute stories.


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"Where's my radio?"
The only times that the movie is enter-
taining and even remotely interesting are
when the leads share the screen together.
Lane and Cusack, her with a quiet radi-
ance and him with a wry sense of humor,
have an easy-going, very natural chem-
istry, and their scenes are charming and
authentic - even when they head into
cliched territory. But because the story

focuses mainly on Sarah, these moments
are few and too far between.
The film ends with a familiar mad
dash and storybook ending, which seems
to satisfy everyone. But as the plots get
schmaltzier and the stars prettier, you
have to wonder: Will the date-movie set
ever realize that they're essentially seeing
the same movie over and over?


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