The Aisle Steat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Bored to Death

HBO has a long-standing reputation for airing some of the best, most original shows on television. One of their recent programs, Bored to Death, hasn't received the amount of attention showered upon The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm or Entourage, but it deserves notice. It's the kind of smart, witty show that TV needs a lot more of. Season one is available from HBO Home Entertainment starting Sept. 21.

Created by author Jonathan Ames, Bored to Death follows the adventures of an author named…Jonathan Ames (played here by Jason Schwartzman). Jonathan has been struggling to write a new novel, plus he's been unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend (Juno's Olivia Thirlby) for drinking too much. Depressed and confused, he decides to make life more exciting by emulating the heroes of the hardboiled detective novels he loves. Jonathan posts an ad on Craigslist offering his services as an unlicensed private detective. People actually start contacting him, and each episode finds him working on a different case.

The cases themselves are no great shakes, which is one of the show's best jokes. He follows a man to see if he's cheating on his girlfriend. He finds a woman's missing sister, who isn't really missing at all. A woman hires him to retrieve her son's skateboard, which has been stolen by some teenagers. (This installment is particularly hilarious.) My favorite episode finds Jonathan trying to retrieve a lost script belonging to film director Jim Jarmusch, who cameos as himself.

Schwartzman is great here, as are co-stars Ted Danson, who plays Jonathan's pot-smoking, sex-addicted, always-up-for-a-party boss George, and Zach Galifianakis, as his oddball best friend Ray. Ray's life is perhaps even more off-kilter than Jonathan's, which makes him a perfect sidekick. These three actors all have such different and distinct acting styles. One wouldn't necessarily think they'd gel as a team, but they do. Danson is especially funny, playing George as a walking id, almost childlike in his quest for fun.

Bored to Death is packed with wry, absurdist humor that continually made me laugh. I'm really looking forward to the second season. If you missed season one during its first airing, or if you enjoyed it as much as I did and want to experience it again, this is a DVD worth getting.

( 1/2 out of four)

DVD Features:

Bored to Death comes in a 2-disc set, with all eight episodes from season one. Additionally it contains the following bonus features:

Jonathan Ames's Brooklyn - The author/show creator takes you on a guided tour of Brooklyn, as well as notable locations from the show.

The Making of Bored to Death - Cast, crew, and creators are interviewed about the making of season one and the process of putting together such an offbeat show.

You also get audio commentaries on four of the episodes, with Ames, Danson, and Schwartzman participating, and several deleted scenes from the series.