I’ll admit upfront that I’ve never seen Blackpool (renamed Viva Blackpool in the US), but it looks as if Viva Laughlin is another in a series of good British shows made into mediocre American ones. Couping, Hustle, and now this, from what I hear about the UK version (I plan on renting Viva Blackpool). I know, I know, you all love The Office… I still prefer the original.

Viva Laughlin was bad, and I wanted to like it despite early warnings. It’s musical, it’s got gambling, a great cast, yada yada yada. Even with all that going for it, bad show.

The actors are good, they’ve all got great creds, Hugh Jackman, Melanie Griffith, Madchen Amick, they’ve all got real acting chops. The problem is the script and the way they’ve decided to use the music. Again, I have yet to see the UK version, but I can’t imagine this is what they did. Rather than have the actors sing the songs, ala Moulin Rouge, the actors sing along with the songs in mini-music videos, creating a kind of hokey karaoke. There were times when the sound levels were so odd that I could barely hear Hugh Jackman singing over Mick Jagger. An odd choice. Plus the choreography of these musical bits is off-putting as well.

Script-wise, there’s a lot of bad dialog and drivel. When her husband has been out all night Natlie Holden (Amchek) leaves him a message, saying in part, “…Where are you? It’s the middle of the night. Just call me. Tell me you’re okay. Are you okay? Please call me and tell me you’re okay.” A bit repetitive for my taste. Even better, when Ripley Holden (Lloyd Owen) is going to lose his casino, and his son (Carter Jenkins) sells his car to give him $250 thousand, Ripley gets choked up, can’t say thank you and instead says, “That blemish, that red zit thing on your face, it’s clearing up nicely.” Then he half smiles at his son with paternal gratitude; the son beams with acceptance. Blech!

The second episode airs Sunday night, we’ll see… this might be one show that I really can’t stomach for more than two hours.

A final note that has nothing to do with Viva Laughlin, but certainly didn’t help me enjoy my viewing. I had recording conflicts so I watched online today; new pet peeve: CBS’s Innertube sucks!!

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