Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More "Good Men" Reviews

Negative review from Hollywood Reporter:
"Ellis handles the colonel's Capt. Queeg-like meltdown effectively, while Lowe -- whose allure is from the dimmer bulb of television and a few bad movies in his youth -- is entirely professional and likeable. He's not helped by the fact that John Barrowman, as the prosecutor played by Kevin Bacon in the film, demonstrates sufficient charisma and electricity to suggest he would be well cast in the Cruise role."

Added review from the Rainbow Network:
"Fresh from The West Wing, Rob Lowe takes on the Cruise role and proves that he can hold centre stage and - going by the reaction of the audience – that he has the gravitas to carry this high-velocity drama with relaxed confidence."

From the International Herald Tribune:
"Sorkin's play would seem hopelessly formulaic and trite whatever the broader political climate, but it certainly doesn't help to find a narrative set largely at Guantánamo Bay - a place whose associations have, uh, shifted (one might say darkened) of late.....As for Lowe? He's an underpowered, faintly synthetic presence in a part that calls for real passion. Or maybe it's just that he, like the evening's author, is simply more at home on TV."

The Times
"Because, yes, Sorkin’s play preceded the movie and, as its London premiere proved last night, remains a thoroughly decent example of that endangered theatrical species, the courtroom drama.
Its story is somewhat formulaic, but when Rob Lowe, hot from Sorkin’s scripts for The West Wing, is coolly Cruising and Jack Ellis is doing his damnedest to Nicholson adequately, David Esbjornson’s production proves gripping enough."

Negative Review from the Financial Times:

"Lowe cuts much less mustard on stage than on TV. He's shorter than you might have hoped; the feckless director, David Esbjornson, keeps underlining this by placing him beside men at least half a head taller. Lowe's not as fresh-faced as this lawyer needs to be, and he applies romantic-comedy cuteness where this play calls for moral weight. In The West Wing, his jawline is an object of myriad beauties; in A Few Good Men, you feel it is merely his main medium of expression. Another production might have made A Few Good Men more morally absorbing, less concerned with suspense."

Negative Review from The Independent:
"To be fair, there are some gripping exchanges and amusing snipes, and David Esbjornson's production boasts several fine performances, including Suranne Jones and Dan Fredenburgh as Kaffe's stroppy support team. Lowe acquits himself admirably too but he looks curiously like a crusading ventriloquist's dummy with his square-jaw small-physique combo. And ultimately Sorkin's early work is disappointing viewing after The West Wing. There are embarrassingly corny moments and the fast-paced dialogue, like machine-gun fire, is bewildering, annoying and then mind-numbing."

Review from Variety (full review only available through free trial subscription)
"A large cast -- "The West Wing" star Rob Lowe in his West End debut included -- huffs and puffs its way through the London premiere of "A Few Good Men," which has only a few things to commend it to playgoers capable of renting Rob Reiner film for a fraction of the price. Show may score with those seduced by Aaron Sorkin's co-option of the ever-popular courtroom drama genre, but Lowe's wearyingly flip presence and David Esbjornson's stagey production seem scarcely less onerous than, well, boot camp. "

From Bloomberg:
Sorkin's play is a well-varnished courtroom drama. Think Agatha Christie in uniform but with much better dialogue. Lowe plays feckless, spoiled lawyer Daniel Kaffee, who would always settle a guilty plea bargain rather than fight a case. He's dragged into defending two men who, from the moment the curtain rises on Michael Pavelka's steely barracks set, announce that they are on a murder charge and that they are guilty."