The Dead Guy

In Eric Coble's satiric dark comedy, TV producer Gina Yaweth offers local loser Eldon Phelps the chance of a lifetime: For one week he'll have a million dollars to spend in any way he pleases, so long as a camera can follow him. At the end of the week, he's put to death in a manner chosen by the viewers. That part seems entirely plausible. Far less convincing is the fit Gina throws when Eldon chooses to spend his money on sex, drugs, alcohol, and Disneyland. Suddenly channeling the Moral Majority, Gina shrieks that she couldn't possibly show such debauchery during the 9 p.m. "family hour." Has she ever watched reality television? In a strangely contrived moment, she confesses that everyone in her life hates her, somehow leading Eldon to the realization that he needs to turn his life around before he dies in five days. Coble certainly gets points for astute social commentary, though much of the execution is predictable and the humor too frequently falls flat. He criticizes the media for typecasting flyover country while simultaneously relying heavily on the stereotypical dichotomy of rural redneck vs. L.A. elitist. The Dead Guy makes a good point, but subtlety would have made the point stronger. BRENT ARONOWITZ 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., plus 3 p.m. Sun., April 13 & 20. Ends April 20.

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., April 13, 3 p.m.; Sun., April 20, 3 p.m. Starts: April 2. Continues through April 20, 2008

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