Monday, March 31, 2008
TV EYE: One vote for Gomez Addams
John Adams is the founding father that no one knows (or cares much about), always outshone by his historical bros George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benny Boy Franklin. HBO is in the midst of a presenting a finely detailed and impeccably drawn retelling of David McCullough’s highly praised biography, much praised for fully succeeding in making the man and his actions vividly interesting. The HBO showpiece, John Adams (Sundays, 8:00 PM) is not so wholly successful, the direct cause of which lies squarely on the squat shoulders of Paul Giamatti, a cool daddy actor who's done wonderful work in a dozen different movies and roles. Here he seems outshined by his co-stars Laura Linney (Abigal Adams), David Morse (Washington), Steven Dillane (Jefferson), Danny Huston (Samuel Adams) and especially Tom Wilkinson (an entertainingly quirky Franklin). The mini-series production values leap off the screen and the script is a literate one, but Giamatti never fits himself into the period, and his Adams seems continually dumbstruck and irritated, like a guy in a wig with a migraine and a toothache, making it tough to divine enough signs of the actual Adams’ enormous inner drive and particular intellect. Truthfully, this period piece feels far too close to yer typical BBC fare, eliciting far more yawns than giggles.