Review: Attack of the Hollywood Clichés!, Netflix

Review: Attack of the Hollywood Clichés!, Netflix

If you want conclusive proof that not everything Charlie Brooker touches turns to gold, check out Attack of the Hollywood Clichés!, the one-off comedy special he has produced for Netflix. If you want an hour of escapist clippage and laughs you'll be satisfied, if you are hoping for anything close to his telly takedowns in Screenwipe think again.

Rob Lowe – gotta think of the American demographic – fronts a show which is essentially a variant on the kind of thing that might crop up on Five late on a Sunday night, maybe with a studio host, maybe with Robert Webb doing a voiceover. It pretty much does what the title says and rattles through the kind of tropes that cinema goers have got used to over the years.

Some are obvious others were new on me. The romcom "meet cute", the manic pixie dream girl and the maverick cop are well worn characters and dealt with pretty briskly – most maverick cops, it turns out, are played by Mel Gibson or Clint Eastwood and usually have to hand their badge in just before they go rogue and crack the crime. Film students should note that there is a degree of overlap here with the "one man army", from Rambo to Bond.

Other tropes were less well-known. Such as the "Spit take" - like a double take except that you are so shocked you spit your drink out - something that has never happened in real life ever. And there's a nice cinephile digression about "the Wilhelm scream" – a corny sound effect that has been used in everything from old cowboy films to Star Wars.

It's perfectly palatable fun, with Rob Lowe milking his self-knowing side as the host. But the clips shown are incredibly short – do they think viewers will get bored if they show more than two seconds of Star Wars?

Well done though for bagging an above average cast list of talking heads, including Andie MacDowell, Florence Pugh, Richard E Grant and Jonathan Ross. 

Occasionally there were some serious asides - according to the programme, 40% of LGBTQ  characters nominated for Oscars die before the end credits – but the emphasis here is very much on getting viewers to giggle. Maybe not Charlie Brooker gold standard, but give it a silver. Now as I've been so nice can we have more Black Mirror please?

Attack of the Hollywood Clichés! is available on Netflix now

Rob Lowe picture: netflix


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