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Entertainment Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin

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Ryan Gosling is just so brilliant, I don’t know what else to say. I can’t believe that he’s not even 27 yet! And he spoke after the screening of “Lars and the Real Girl” that I attended, and said everything that I could hope such a great talent would say, such as loving “Harvey,” “Being There,” and “Harold and Maude.” That’s a guy after my own heart. What a perfect list of films.

And he said that the person he could picture the most as his quirky, sensitive character, Lars, would be Gene Wilder. I conjured up the image right then and there, and laughed so loudly that I was almost embarrassed. Good thing I never sit near the front.

I hate knowing anything of a film beforehand, so as not to spoil it for myself. (Usually, I just check genre, so I know if I should force Mr. X into going with me, or otherwise need a guy, girl, or child to enjoy it alongside.) So, I knew not a thing of this one, except for the participation of Mr. Gosling.

It was a revelation. So much was going on in such a seemingly simple story. And it was funny and painless, while being deep and touching. Great performances from the entire cast. Craig Gillespie, the director, spoke afterwards, as well, and I could see why the film worked so beautifully, which might not have been the case in the hands of another.

Lovely experience all the way around. Almost made me wish that I was the Real Girl!

“Lars and the Real Girl” opens October 12


When I saw this title, I conjured up a fabulous, old-time musical about a “mature” showgirl trying to disguise herself as twenty, for the purpose of getting a job in the chorus. I played the whole thing in my head. And, since, as I mentioned in the previous review, I don’t like to know the plotline ahead of seeing an entity for myself, that’s what I arrived at the La Mirada expecting.

What I got was nothing at all like my vision, but good enough, in its own way, though it’s far from my cup of tea. It’s a cleverly-worded song-fest about aging. That topic just rarely makes me laugh. I find it depressing to know the horrible fates that await me, and would rather wait and see what happens as I move on in life, without older people gleefully apprising me of the horrors that will befall me in the coming years. I guess misery does, indeed, love company. I just don’t want to be IT.

[Sidebar: One “aging” thing in life that did make me laugh, though, was a card I saw at a friend’s house in New York. It said, “Happy Birthday. Have you started wearing pantyhose with your bikinis yet?” I thought that was just hilarious, and actually requested the same card for MY birthday. Then again, I’m nuts.]

Aside from the early-suicide-inspiring topic, there are positives with this production. For starters, the set is great. It’s a coffeehouse, that looks like it would be in NoHo. The set decorations are phenomenal!

There are vintage album covers, toys, posters, etc. I’d love to know where they found it all. I spent half my time examining the set through binoculars, just to soak up every detail. I have to give props to John Iacovelli, the scenic designer (incorrectly written as “senic” designer in the program), and Terry Hanrahan, the properties designer. Remind me to find these artists and beg them to take me shopping.

two old for the chorus
Cast of “Too Old For The Chorus."
Photo by Michael Lamont

This is one of those shows that are all songs. There was a tad of dialog, but just to lead into a tune. The cast is three men and two women, who are all talented singers. They were, for the most part, very understandable, which is of utmost importance when the lyrics are the show.

And, although the wardrobe was what I call “grown-up clothing,” I actually took note of it and thought that Julie Keen did a good job with costuming. (My friend, Lauren, in the Hamptons probably wishes Julie would dress me because Lauren was upset that my clothing was “too junior” for that area when visited this summer. I keep trying to find time to finish THAT expose column, but there were just so many events to rag on review.)

The five-person band was dependable, too. They never drowned out the singers, which is always a commendable thing.
All in all, this was a good production. I guess that I’m just “Too Young To Appreciate Geriatric Humor.”

“Too Old For The Chorus” running through October 14
La Mirada Theatre For The Performing Arts La Mirada Ave. 562-944-9801


And lastly, here’s my quick run-down on some of the new shows of the season. I’m not jumping out of my skin over any of them, as I have almost every other September of my life, but these are some I like so far:

Dirty, Sexy Money--LOVE this one! It’s so strange. And unpredictable and well-acted, too.

The Big Bang Theory--wasn’t in love with episode #1, but Mr. X pointed out that I did laugh a few times. #2 was better. I have no idea how Jim Parsons, the tall, skinny guy, learns all that difficult dialogue and delivers it so well. And, the writers must be beyond brilliant, or just really paid attention in science class.

K-Ville--Anthony Anderson sang a few bars of “The Sun Will Come Out” the other night, and it was beautiful; and charming! They should have him sing all the time.

Moonlight--this one is mostly stupid, but the lead is so good-looking. What’s a girl to do?

Journeyman--I like the premise and execution, but the cast leaves many things to be desired. They’re all adequate actors, but I don’t understand how any of them became series regulars. There’s just really nothing special about any of them. The lead could play Spencer Tracy in a biopic, though, which might make him interesting to some.

Gossip Girl--not in love with it, by any stretch of the imagination, although this is my usual genre. (I still haven’t gotten over the demise of “The O. C.”) But I can’t seem to refrain from watching it.

Life--read my review of the premiere party in my restaurant column. (You can click over at the top of this one.)

One I haven’t seen yet:
Kid Nation--I don’t need to watch it because I saw it the first time around--when it was called “Lord of the Flies.”

Ones you couldn’t pay me to watch again: Back to You, Bionic Woman, and The Reaper.

Not a new show, but rather a new season:
Dancing With The Stars--I love this show, but the title should be changed to “Dancing With a Group of People Who Have/Had a Modicum Of Fame in Some Area or Other.” With that criteria, if they ever feature internet columnists, I’m in!

One that’s not new, but I’m sure you all want to know when it’s on:

“Karen’s Restaurant Revue” airs on October 4 and 11, 2007 (2 different shows) at 10PM on Time-Warner Cable, Channels 98, 77, 37, or 3. Check the listings in your area.

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