Monday, February 7, 2011

Chris Elliott is "Eagleheart"!

First, a confession. I love Chris Elliott, in his old sticom Get a Life, in his maligned-at-the-time-but-now-adored Cabin Boy feature from 1994, on talk show appearances -- everywhere. I love his mopey charm, his off-kilter adult baby-ish physicality, his goofy smile, his voice -- everything. High hopes loomed for Adult Swim's new live-action law enforcement-show parody Eagleheart, starring Elliot as a vengeance-seeking marshal. Then why did I find that even at fifteen minutes (eleven minus commercials) the first episode felt too long? The show lost its zip the minute anybody except Chris Elliott was onscreen. I wasn't expecting that.

Produced out of Conan O'Brien's company, Eagleheart was announced in late 2009 as a showbiz comedy about a network executive who's sent to Texas to rein in the aging action star of a TV show called "Eagleheart". What we're seeing now as Eagleheart seems to be the show itself and not the behind-the-scenes story. Based of course on Conan O'Brien's former Walker, Texas Ranger film clip favorite Chuck Norris, Eagleheart is a spot-on parodic take on action shows, but there was a little too much plot and dialogue to keep it consistently funny. The producers know their genre, maybe only too well.

Elliott is hilarious, as you can see from the promos. As Chris Monsanto, Elliott is deadpan, absurd, trigger-happy and absolutely perfect.

What doesn't get old is the over-the-top violence and gunplay, played here for laughs and sometimes almost going on too long, but it still works. Certainly not for kids, but Eagleheart airs at midnight on Thursdays (starting last week, and I don't see a replay on the schedule). Don't miss the unexpected visual joke in the opening minutes of the first episode, below; it's a doozy.

Will I watch Eagleheart again? Should you watch it? If you love Chris Elliott, this is a must-watch, or at least a must-try. We all grew up watching real shows with everything that Eagleheart has -- except for Eagleheart's humor and the genius of Chris Elliott -- so a little more can't hurt us at this point.

If you're a Chris Elliott lover, too, you'll enjoy this hilarious blast from the past below, a short scene from the beloved now-cult classic Get a Life which ran on the nascent Fox network for 35 episodes beginning in 1990.

No comments: