1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of February 4, 2008
Nathan Lane stars as incumbent U.S. president Charles Smith, Dylan Baker is an advisor, and Laurie Metcalf is his speech writer who wants the president to perform her civil marriage in David Mamet's new comedy "November" playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
Mamet, whose script for "Wag the Dog" may be the most prescient piece of politically subversive comedy to ever make it to the screen, takes the lazy way out with the election-year sitcom that opened last night at the Barrymore Theatre, starring Nathan Lane as a lowlife losing president called Chuck.
Instead of wit and fury, we get gags and grimaces. Instead of humor so daring that critics have been known to bite their own lips to maintain decorum, the comedy is so eager-to-please that we strain to hear Mamet's voice beyond the punch lines.
Oh, there is plenty of noisy impertinence and throwaway bits of pertinence in the hyperextended sketch about a failing incumbent. But mostly, this is a commercial Broadway fluff ball disguised as a tough-talking political troublemaker.
(Photo courtesy of Newsday)