Life’s Too Short gets critical mauling in America
Tim Clark20 February 2012
Life’s Too Short received its American premiere on HBO last night, and was met with an underwhelming response from the critics.
It will be a blow to the heavily-promoted show in America, which met a similar critical reception on its launch in Britain last year, before going on to record poor ratings throughout its run.
In a savage review on the Huffington Post, Maureen Ryan said there was ‘something sour and awful about Ricky Gervais’ comedy these days’, calling him a ‘smug, self-absorbed blowhard’.
She added: “[T]he most unpleasant thing about the show is that one gets the sense that Gervais and Merchant made Davis the star because it would be easier to garner sympathy for the character based on his size.”
The Washington Post described it as a ‘mostly tepid’ show, adding: “It purports to be about a down-on-his-luck dwarf who craves exposure, when in fact, it’s just as much about a talented actor and producer (Gervais) who’s overexposed and at the end of his creative rope. Strangely, this may well be the show’s subliminal intent.”
Entertainment Weekly noted a few laughs but came to the verdict that “Short might have been funny if it had come out 10 years ago, but now it’s just more same old, same old… sadly, even the laughs themselves are a bit weak.”
A tepid piece in the New York Times said that Warwick Davis made it ‘watchable’, adding: ‘Mr. Davis is sufficiently funny that you don’t mind so much the scenes that don’t work, like a misbegotten, it-looked-good-on-paper encounter between Johnny Depp and the actual Ricky Gervais.’
Variety also delivered a mixed verdict: “the show produces some very funny moments, but the gags are hit-miss, and the poorer ones tend to drag on too long…[i]t's also somewhat dispiriting, frankly, to see Gervais and Merchant repeating themselves in this fashion.”
One of the few positive reviews came in the tabloid New York Post, which claimed: “Either you’ll laugh out loud, knowing that Davis helped create this, or call for Gervais’ head — probably in a garbage pail.”
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