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Unscripted

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 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.

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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

None.

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.)
  • 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 (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ARXF82
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,529 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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Absolutely loved this show when it aired. Sad to see it only garnered one season. It ended well though, tied up loose ends, allowed the viewer to decide for themselves what the characters fate would eventually be. Very funny. Very honest. A must see for anyone interested in seeing how actors struggle to make it in Hollywood.
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I heard Frank Langella praise his experience in this series and was pleased to see it can be picked up for a song. Clooney, Soderburgh and Heslov have created an intelligent and funny behind-the-scenes look at what it really means to be an actor. True-to-life experiences range from the demeaning to the exalted - begging Dad for rent on the phone, or earning it as a costumed character outside a car wash, scoring a line on a sit-com or a role opposite Uma Thurman. The hub of all activity is the acting class taught by Langella's character, Goddard Fulton. The three actors at the center of the series are "playing" themselves, with their real lives and roles providing fodder for the developing story. Langella, in the one strictly "fictional" role, is both stiletto sharp and subtly nuanced, and he provides the words of wisdom across these ten episodes. "Fulton's" class includes seasoned pros and new talents - and he spouts memorable, even quotable advice.

Folks actually interested in the process behind their favorite movies, plays and TV shows should love Unscripted. Old, young, experienced and would-be actors will find it wryly funny, pointedly observant or possibly a little sobering, according to their place in the big picture.

Highly recommended. Note, though "un-rated", Unscripted deals with adult themes and is not for pre-high schoolers. (Other than an actor's young son, the threshold here is college age, and that is certainly reflected in the stories and relationships.)
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