×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Directed by Leslie’s Folly

Third installment in Showtime's Learn While You Earn program for novice directors was helmed by Kathleen Turner, who also plays uncredited cameo. If she personally selected Lynn Mamet's pretentious script, Turner should keep her SAG membership paid up.

With:
Cast: Anne Archer, Charles Durning, Mary Kay Place, John Shea, Kathleen Turner, Joshua Boyd, Clara Bryant, John Doman, Joanna Sanchez.

Third installment in Showtime’s Learn While You Earn program for novice directors was helmed by Kathleen Turner, who also plays uncredited cameo. If she personally selected Lynn Mamet’s pretentious script, Turner should keep her SAG membership paid up.

Story is of Leslie (Anne Archer), housewife who’s torn between uptight husband Ira (John Doman) and hunky paramour Daniel (John Shea).

When Leslie finds herself pregnant, she’s afraid to tell Ira, and Daniel panics at the prospect that it might be his. Against the advice of best friend Susan (Mary Kay Place), Leslie opts for an abortion.

There’s much angst, appropriately; the problem is that the stilted dialogue sounds more literary than conversational, no matter how often David Mamet’s sister has her middle-class, middle-aged characters say four-letter words. More are used in this half-hour than one would expect to hear at a longshoreman’s bar.

In a non-blue stretch of typically stilted speech, Leslie is asked why she chooses to abort her unborn child, and explains, “Because I will love it and that is something I can ill afford — I choose to mourn it.”

When Susan tries to convince her not to abort, Leslie counters, “This from a woman who likens childbirth to a heart-lung transplant?”

Without four-letter words, the half-hour could be recycled as 15-minute filler for Lifetime.

The talented actors try hard with Mamet’s lines, Archer delivering them as if she were auditioning for “Masterpiece Theater” and Place making them sound somewhat more natural. Charles Durning fares best as Leslie’s doctor.

Tech credits are OK, as is Turner’s direction. The choice of vehicle may not have been hers — David and Lynn Mamet between them scripted three of the six “Directed By” episodes.

Directed by Leslie's Folly

(Sun. (9), 10-10:30 p.m., Showtime)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Chanticleer Films and Showtime. Executive producer, Jana Sue Memel; producers, Michele McGuire, Hillary Anne Ripps; director, Kathleen Turner; script, Lynn Mamet.

Crew: Camera, Joey Forsyte; editor, Kathleen Dougherty; production designer, Don Day; sound, Peter V. Meiselman; music, David Dachinger, Jay Weiss.

Cast: Cast: Anne Archer, Charles Durning, Mary Kay Place, John Shea, Kathleen Turner, Joshua Boyd, Clara Bryant, John Doman, Joanna Sanchez.

More TV

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    The George R.R. Martin drama “Nightflyers” has been canceled by Syfy after only one season. Based on the novella from the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” the show was seen as a big gamble for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, as it represented the most expensive series it had ever developed. The network attempted to spark [...]

  • Batwoman Arrow

    The CW's 'Batwoman' Pilot Switches Directors, Adds Dougray Scott

    The CW has added veteran Scottish actor Dougray Scott to its “Batwoman” pilot as well as swapped in Marcos Siega for previous director David Nutter, Variety has learned. The pilot, which stars Ruby Rose as the eponymous caped heroine, is being helmed by DC TV head Greg Berlanti, and was penned by “Vampire Diaries” alum [...]

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan Writers Room

    Nahnatchka Khan Exits 20th Century Fox TV for Overall Deal at Universal

    Nahnatchka Khan has signed a four-year overall deal at Universal Television. The deal brings an end to the decade-plus Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions banner spent at 20th Century Fox Television. The move will see Khan exit from her role as showrunner on ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” which she also created. The [...]

  • David Ajala

    'Nightflyers' Star David Ajala Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Under the Bridge'

    David Ajala has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Under the Bridge,” Variety has learned. In the project, when a scandal rocks the medical practice she runs with her husband and their friends, a surgeon rises to the occasion and takes the lead in trying to mend both the practice and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content