Sunday, November 16, 2008
Television Review: MY OWN WORST ENEMY (2008, Jason Smilovic)
Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is a dark week for Slater enthusiasts and followers of the Slater Factor alike, as some sniveling, cigar-smoking wanna-be hotshot down at NBC has canceled MY OWN WORST ENEMY with one swift, vicious stroke of the pen, thus reducing the Slater Factor to its lowest point in recent memory. Let's hope it doesn't send him on another two-year bender.
I wrote the following review before news of this catastrophe reached my ears, so forgive my misplaced, childish optimism.
So it's MEMENTO meets TRUE LIES meets... the Slater factor?! Yeah, you heard me right. The SLATER FACTOR. In my reviews and in my life, I do a fair amount of pontificating on "the Slater factor." Let me break it down for you: the Slater factor is when Christian Slater gets a little nutty.
In this promotional photo, the depth and poignancy of Slater's dual personalities is wonderfully illustrated by his artful reflection in the car's hood.
He turns on the Nicholson voice, he tosses around one-liners and eyebrows with reckless abandon: in short, the man starts acting like the lunatic he was born to be. It's the Slater of HEATHERS and KUFFS, the Slater who got arrested for leading cops on a car chase and assaulting them with his boots (1989), taking a gun on a plane (1994), biting a cop on the belly (1997), and drunken assgrabbing (2005). Anyway, my point is this: the show's premise revolves around the Slater factor. His character has two personalities: nice guy family man Henry Spivey and psychopathic secret agent Edward Albright, aka the Slater factor (also note they're the first names of Jekyll and Hyde, respectively). As the pilot began, I was slightly disappointed. It was trudging a tedious middle ground between bad BOURNE IDENTITY knockoff and straight-to-video Steven Segal flick. But then, as the switches between personalities began to intensify and the show's premise became more concrete, the Slater factor was allowed to shine. By the end of the pilot, the communication scenes between personalities were clever, well-done, and I daresay had at least a crumb of emotional pull. And that is because Slater is a fine actor. The show's creators have pulled a brilliant narrative coup- spotlight the Slater factor by creating an anti-Slater factor. Play them off of each other. Poof! Genius. Plus we got Madchen Amick from TWIN PEAKS as the missus. So, I'll be watchin' the rest of the season. And when I'm not, I'm gonna be sittin' at home. In the dark. Thinkin' about the Slater factor.