You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Imposters’ on Bravo

Inbar Lavi plays a con artist who marries her targets and then disappears with all of their cash in this sudsy, funny drama

Inbar Lavi, Rob Heaps, Parker Young, Stephen Bishop, Brian Benben, Katherine LaNasa. With Uma Thurman.

For a show about a con artist specializing in heartbreak, “Imposters” is surprisingly funny. Right after gorgeous, accented Ava (Inbar Lavi) cleans out her nice Jewish husband, Ezra (Rob Heaps), of all of his savings, Ezra tries to kill himself. But “Imposters” plays the scene as comedy — first demonstrating the futility of trying to stick your head in a modern-day oven, with its built-in safety features, and then asking the viewer to watch with droll impassivity as Ezra watches a YouTube video on how to make a noose with an extension cord.

Imposters” walks a fine line between primetime soap and buddy comedy, with varying degrees of success. On one hand it’s the story of conwoman Maddie, who has taken on the names Ava, Alice, and CeCe in a cross-country marrying spree that generally follows the same modus operandi: Find the mark, be everything the mark is looking for, make the mark fall in love with you, and then take everything they have. It’s a ruthless business, and Maddie’s good at it because she looks like an extra in a Victoria’s Secret commercial: dark-haired, sultry-eyed, vaguely foreign. Her calculated sexuality carries with it a whiff of what made “The Girlfriend Experience” on Starz so horrifying and fascinating; the protagonist of both shows is conscious of how she is objectified by the male gaze, and manipulates it to her financial advantage. The difference is that while “Girlfriend Experience’s” Christine (Riley Keough) cops to being a sex worker, Maddie is playing a game that pretends at love, too. Watching her work adds a level of disgust to the paces of the romantic comedy — her meet-cutes are planned encounters; her vulnerable moments, unabashed performances.

But while she is creating a swath of lucrative destruction, attended to by her co-conspirators (Katherine LaNasa and Brian Benben), her exes, spurred on by heartbreak and revenge, end up stumbling into each other’s path. Ezra first finds Richard (Parker Young), a car salesman who knew Alice as a freak in bed who was grooming him for politics. Where Ezra is sensitive and romantic, falling for Ava because he was dreaming of moving to France, Richard is a bodybuilding jock who relied on Alice to round out his sense of masculinity. The two fall into an uneasy and pretty hilarious partnership. But before the buddy-cop routine gets boring, “Imposters” adds a twist: a third ex, Jules (Marianne Rendón), not an ex-husband but an ex-wife. To her, Maddie was CeCe, a dramatic, time-consuming firecracker. Rendón is a brilliant addition to the dynamic between Heaps and Young; as soon as she joins them, the trio makes for the most enjoyable and watchable element of “Imposters.”

Meanwhile, Maddie, working a new mark in Seattle, is starting to feel a little restless — going through the motions of seduction without any enthusiasm, and distracted by Patrick (Stephen Bishop), a handsome tech millionaire she might have genuine feelings for. As her con gets sloppy, her co-conspirators begin to lose patience with her. For some reason, that is when Uma Thurman shows up — as enforcer Lenny Cohen, whose job it is to make sure Maddie stays on track.

This is all to say that “Imposters” is essentially juggling with flaming batons, and it is rather entertaining to watch. The comedic elements almost make the drama seem hackneyed; the dramatic elements almost make the comedy seem desperate. Maddie’s shadowy employers make for an impossibly organized, infinitely resourceful cabal of wrongdoers; meanwhile, Ezra’s family, which gets a lot of screen time at the beginning, makes for a fond and intimate portrait of contemporary Jewish millionaires. “Imposters” is full of rich little embellishments — which are frequently more interesting and well-considered than the actual plot of the show.

Meanwhile, that same plot burns through so fast, it seems as if “Imposters” is determined to paint itself into a corner — after all, what could possibly happen when and if our trio of ex-spouses find Maddie and demand restitution? All three want her back, on some level; all three are also discovering that burying their troubles in another person’s adoration was not much of a way to build a life. While all that personal growth is happening, the audience is trying to discover whether or not Maddie is worth rooting for (and if that is even really her name) as she manages to worm her way into the affections of powerful men with batted eyelashes and girlish giggles that are so apparently effective, one weeps for the state of masculine sexuality.

But this core instability is one of the reasons “Imposters” is so fun to watch. It’s a shaggy, ridiculous, tonally inconsistent show, and in the first two episodes, its pacing leaves something to be desired. But it owns its own nuttiness, which allows the audience to adjust its expectations accordingly — and makes for a fun, unexpected journey. Thurman literally drives up in an American muscle car in the final scene of the third episode to rough up a random bar creep and then drive off into the metaphorical sunset; what’s not to enjoy about that? “Imposters” is having too much fun to answer any tougher questions.

TV Review: 'Imposters' on Bravo

Drama, 10 episodes (3 reviewed): Bravo, Tues. Feb. 7, 10 p.m. 60 min.

Crew: Executive producers, Adam Brooks, Paul Adelstein

Cast: Inbar Lavi, Rob Heaps, Parker Young, Stephen Bishop, Brian Benben, Katherine LaNasa. With Uma Thurman.

More TV

  • Fox News Logo

    Jeff Collins Will Oversee Fox News Ad Sales

    Fox Corporation named Jeff Collins, a former digital-advertising executive, to oversee advertising sales for all of its Fox News media outlets, putting a new face behind the effort at a time when the company is making different outreach to Madison Avenue.  Collins hails from Viant Technology, a digital-advertising and publishing concern that was acquired by [...]

  • La Casa de Papel Netflix

    Madrid Region Booms as an International Production Hub

    Madrid is booming as never before in its 125-year film history; arguably, no other European site is currently transforming so quickly into a global production hub. A 20-minute drive north of the Spanish capital, a large white-concrete hanger has been built beside the Madrid-Burgos motorway, at the entrance to Tres Cantos, a well-heeled satellite village and industrial [...]

  • Game of Thrones: Plastic Water Bottle

    'Game of Thrones': Plastic Water Bottle Spotted in Series Finale

    Two weeks after a rogue coffee cup made its way into an episode of “Game of Thrones,” another modern-day refreshment popped up in Westeros, this time in the form of a plastic water bottle. During one of the most important scenes in Sunday’s farewell episode, in which “The Iron Throne” was decided,  a water bottle [...]

  • Westworld Season 3 Trailer

    'Westworld' Season 3 Trailer Focuses on New Cast Member Aaron Paul

    Ahead of the final episode of “Game of Thrones,” HBO released the first trailer for the new season of another flagship show: “Westworld.” The first look at the third season of the sci-fi show puts the focus on new series regular Aaron Paul, best known for his run on “Breaking Bad.” The trailer doesn’t reveal [...]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "218 (Season Finale)"

    Adam Lambert Does Double Performing Duty on 'Idol' as New Winner Is Crowned

    A new “American Idol” winner was crowned Sunday night, but not before Adam Lambert returned to the stage for the season finale for a pair of performances that included his new single and a duet with eliminated contestant Dimitrius Graham Sunday. The show concluded with Louisiana teen Laine Hardy showered in confetti as he was [...]

  • Beyonce Emilia Clarke

    Emilia Clarke Worried Beyonce Would Hate Daenerys After 'Game of Thrones'' Final Season

    After eight seasons as the Mother of Dragons, “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke has a lot of celebrity fans. But the most impressive? Probably Queen Bey. In a New Yorker interview posted after Sunday night’s series finale, Clarke revealed that she met Beyonce at an Oscars after-party hosted by the musician and her husband, [...]

  • Game of Thrones Finale

    Why the 'Game of Thrones' Finale Couldn't Have Satisfied Everyone

    The “Game of Thrones” finale may have achieved a strange feat: Aiming for fan service while being constrained, by its very nature, to the reality that it would end up pleasing only very few. The episode was larded with character touches designed for devotees — from a title, at long last, for fan favorite Bronn, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content