Head Cases

Sunday, October 2, 2005

There's no surer sign that it is time to commence the annual Fall television reviews than the first cancellation. This year's honor for least successful new show goes to Head Cases, a generally ill-conceived Odd Couple-derived legal dramedy. The premise is painfully contrived - a high-priced asshole lawyer (Chris O'Donnell) has a nervous breakdown and is assigned by his therapist to spend time with another patient, also a lawyer, but, and get this, he's a bottom-feeding, rage-fueled lawyer (Adam Goldberg).

Now, I feel kind of bad piling on a show that's dead and gone after two episodes, but the writers here clearly missed the whole point of an mismatched pairing for the sake of comedy. Both members of the pair have to have at least some redeeming qualities - otherwise, we're just stuck watching people we don't like dislike each other. True, we're able to find their mutual distaste relateable, but it's not pleasant watching. Chris O'Donnell is really good at playing assholes, but unlike Ben Affleck (the actor who, for me, sets the bar in cinematic assholicness), he doesn't seem to take any pleasure in it. Watching a self-loathing, humorless, self-important asshole for an hour is unbearable.

Adam Goldberg comes off a little better, as well he should, as this is something like his 59th consecutive "crazy, but oddly endearing guy" role. Still, his fits of rage come across as more dangerous than comedic, leading the viewers to wonder how a lawyer could routinely assualt other lawyers without getting disbarred. There's a way to do that kind of story, but unless the show really wanted to do Punch-Drunk Love as a legal drama, I'm not sure how they'd pull it off.

Rating: D (Gone. Unlamented.)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides