Starring: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Scwartz, Josh Lawson
Running Time: 396 minutes
Extras: Hanging with Don Cheadle, Hanging with Kristen Bell, Who is Marty Kaan?, Commentary Episodes 1, 2, 5, 11 and 12, Management Consulting 101, The Rainmaker, Dress for Success
Showtime’s line-up includes DEXTER, CALIFORNICATION, WEEDS and HOMELAND, added to the list last year was Don Cheadle starring HOUSE OF LIES. Looking at the lives of four management consultants the series is profane, clever and very enjoyable.
Marty Kaan (Cheadle) can close any deal, he has the world in his hands, but his life is a mess. His cross-dressing son, broken marriage and huge ego leave him unfulfilled, as along with his team: Jeannie (Bell), Clyde (Schwartz) and Doug (Lawson), he flies around the country manipulating clients for monetary gain.
On the surface HOUSE OF LIES should be difficult to enjoy; egos and chauvinistic characters appear at every turn, and almost all the female characters are treated as sex-objects. Fortunately Matthew Carnahan, David Walpert and Karin Gist’s scripts are whip-smart, tidy and explanatory of the confusing jargon in each episode.
Lead Cheadle fills the screen with confidence and pomposity, particularly during cutaways as he speaks to the camera, yet manages to remain likeable thanks to his weaknesses. Doug and Clyde make a solid, if sometimes annoying, double-act offering the main source of comedy, whilst Kristen Bell’s Jeannie is the uptight backbone of the team.
Having just commenced its second season in the US, HOUSE OF CARDS is a nice change of pace for US television. It has a cleverness, debauched sense of humour and an excellent central performance from Cheadle. It won’t appeal to everyone because of its style, but those that take to it will find much to enjoy.
Extras: A few nice commentaries and some nice insight into the main players round off a nice two-disc package.