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4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Unscripted (DVD)

Executive-produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney (Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12), UNSCRIPTED is an innovative half-hour comedy series that fuses reality and fiction to chronicle the lives of three struggling young actors as they navigate the rough waters of show business. Starring Krista Allen, Bryan Greenberg and Jennifer Hall, essentially playing themselves, and co-starring screen veteran Frank Langella as Goddard Fulton, a noted actor who leads them in an acting workshop at Los Angeles' fabled Tamarind Theater, UNSCRIPTED offers a revealing look at the sometimes raucous, often disillusioning world of the fledgling actor.



Unscripted is to cable TV as A Chorus Line is to Broadway: a look at the performers in the smaller roles. Produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney (who also directs), the HBO comedy follows the trials and tribulations of three real-life actors, Krista Allen, Jennifer Hall, and Bryan Greenberg. The 10-part series isn't documentary, soap opera, or sitcom, but a combination of the three. It's up to the viewer to figure out where one ends and the other begins. Complicating matters is the character of Goddard Fulton (Frank Langella, Good Night, and Good Luck), an acting coach--and celebrated lothario--trying to help these young thespians step up their game.

In the pilot, Allen stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn to talk about her latest role: tequila spokesmodel. It may not be acting, but she has a son to support and it's an improvement on her softcore Emmanuelle past. In the same episode, Greenberg has a walk-on on ER and Hall has a stand-in on The George Lopez Show. In subsequent episodes, Allen guests on Jake in Progress and Hall does stand-in and background work on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Constantine. Greenberg hits the greatest heights when a recurring role on One Tree Hill leads to a starring role in Prime--opposite Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep. All go to humiliating auditions for parts they don't get.

As expected from a Clooney/Soderbergh production, stars abound, including Noah Wylie, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Hank Azaria, Keanu Reeves, and Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which featured Allen and Hall). Like improvised predecessor Curb Your Enthusiasm, most play themselves. Despite greater critical acclaim, Unscripted, like K Street before it, was not renewed for a second season. It deserved better. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Krista Allen, Bryan Greenberg, Jennifer Hall, Frank Langella
  • Directors: George Clooney, Grant Heslov
  • Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Michael Hissrich, Steven Soderbergh, Joanne Toll
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ARXF82
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,059 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Unscripted" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Unscripted" was shot periodically throughout 2004 aired on HBO in early 2005, featuring snapshots of life-everything from the mundane to the comic relief-- life of its three actors (Krista Allen, Bryan Greenberg, and Jennifer Hall.

The first five episodes of "Unscripted" were directed by George Clooney, and this part of the series more closely mirrors reality, while the last five are directed by Grant Heslov and have more of a narrative flow. The last five episode feel aware of themselves; they make a conscious effort to tell a story from start to finish and not just follow around three separate individuals. However, instances here are created and therefore feel fictional and almost forced. HBO audiences, although thought of as smarter than your average sitcom audience, still had trouble figuring out which parts of "Unscripted" were real and which were fake. It feels like a reality show, but it is not one; the actors all play charicatures of themselves. Character actors like Jane Lynch even guest star in roles other than themselves. "Unscripted" blurs the line and does it efficiently...it's just a shame more people didn't understand that.

The problem audiences seem to have found with "Unscripted" is the fact that the show is not airbrushed by the glittery, glamorous Hollywood lens is where people will be surprised. Since it is a Section 8 endeavor, the shots are each highly stylized: the handheld camerawork and corner frame shots all scream with Soderbergh's influence. The dialogue is all unscripted but based on actual situations, so early comparisons to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" were made. And because of that, audiences will undoubtedly tune in and expect a half an hour over-the-top comedy about struggling actors.
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This is another experiment from Clooney/HBO along the lines of "K Street," except it's a cinema verite look at actors instead of lobbyists, actors who are at various levels on the food chain. Krista Allen is a just-past-30 "Baywatch" babe trying to make a break into serious acting; Bryan Greenburg is Vincent Chase without the sudden success (but with, he hopes, a recurring role on "One Tree Hill"); Jennifer Hall is a sort of hapless audition flop and occasional car wash hawker who's a dead ringer for "Fast Times"-era Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Best of all is Frank Langella as an acting coach who's both wise and shamelessly pragmatic, sometimes at the same time.

As a previous reviewer pointed out, the first half of the 10 episodes are more fly-on-the-wall, and I watched them with interest but rarely stopped wondering why I should care. The second half, however, develops a better sense of plotting and, right along with that, a definition of why a viewer should care. Even when some of the characters aren't very compelling the sitautions usually are.

As experimental as it seems, "Unscripted" is also a strangely effective example of studio synergy. Hall, at one point, gets a role as an extra in "Constantine" and, sure enough, if you watch "Constantine" (I don't recommend it) she's actually in the film. Likewise Greenburg's "character" gets a role in "Prime," opposite Uma Thurman, and later this month he co-stars in that same film. And I must say that after seeing Allen in this (I'd never seen her in anything before) I did find myself eagerly seeking out her "Emmanuel in Space" movies.

Still, corporate and non-corporate cross-promotions aside, this is another one of those HBO shows that suck a viewer in and turn out to be smarter than one might expect.
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Hollywood still attracts the star-struck and the hopeful. 'Unstripted' is the story of three of those aforementioned dreamers. Krista Allen, Bryan Greenberg and Jennifer Hall play themselves, aspiring actors and actresses trying to claw their way up the Hollywood ladder. Frank Langella plays Goddard, an acting teacher with a penchent for making hard-to-fathom stage direction (more passion! faster! you are too real! act!) and for bedding his young, nubile female students.

This ten-episode show, originally shown on HBO is a bit uneven, I think. First of all, it really seems to capture what goes on in tinseltown for the young and the vulnerable. Yes, we have tears here. We have false praise, bloated and untrue resumes, cutthroat competition, and mistaken notions of how to do an audition.

Lately there have been more than a few movies and series of the 'behind the scenes' looks at Hollywood from an insider's standpoint. 'Entourage' (also from HBO) is one example, 'Californication' is another, this time from the perspective of a writer. 'Get Shorty' was another, that with a gangster twist on it. I guess you could say, 'write what you know' and Hollywood is rotten with writers, hence the focus. It's more of a stretch, I suppose, to write about a drug researcher, since there are few of those toiling away in the film capital of the world.

Recommended. Five stars for the interesting, faux documentary of kids on the way up. It misfires on occasion, but all-in-all I liked it a lot. Very eye-opening. I'm glad I'm not an actor!

Update: I have watched this again, and have enjoyed it a lot. This is a very well made. Frank Langella's character, especially, is terrific. He's either full of BS all of the time, most of the time, or never.
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