By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
Last year, Showtime aired Adam Rifkin’s insane and wildly satirical television series about a family unknowingly recorded for a reality show. The first season was then edited and re-cut with a darker tone and is now packaged as a feature film. I have to hand it to Rifkin who writes, directs and stars in the film/series. This movie has superb writing, marvelous acting, and is one hell of a comedic ride full of shocks and surprises.
Television producer Mickey Wagner (Rifkin) has an insanely bold idea for reality television. He decides to select a normal family randomly and secretly put them under surveillance. At first, this family really has nothing interesting to offer viewers. The Warwicks: Dennis (Scott Anderson), Katharine (Kelley Menighan Hensley), and Amy (Monika Tilling) honestly are just a normal, run-of-the-mill family with little drama in their lives. To appease the television heads and give them something juicy for ratings, Wagner and his crew decide to create drama in their lives, and the world they once knew will never be the same.
Since The Truman Show, I have not seen a more relevant or intelligent satire on reality television. In fact since The Truman Show premiered in the late 90s, it only hints at where this type of television was headed. Now it is fifteen years later and this type of programming is found everywhere on television. The number of reality shows has increased exponentially since then and has gotten even trashier in its content. So the release of Rifkin’s show and film couldn’t have come at a better time. His film does go a bit over-the-top with some of his scenarios, but if one really thinks about it, it’s not a huge stretch of the truth.