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Review: The Riches

Posted on March 19, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Riches

In the US: Mondays, 10pm, FX
In the UK: Channel 4, Sky One and Five are all bidding for the rights

Much as we may love him, there's always something in the words “Eddie Izzard has been cast as?��Ǩ��” that makes our hearts fall. He's a great comedian, but a great actor? Not so much.

The Riches, therefore, comes as a bit of a surprise. It could have been pure evil. It co-stars Minnie Driver, who's squandered most of our goodwill since Grosse Pointe Blank. And it features both of them as married con artists who hail from the Southern states of the US. Could anything go wrong with having two Brits as the leads? Hmmm....

Despite all this and Mr Izzard's slightly dodgy accent, it's actually pretty good.

Plot (conned out of the Wikipedia pages and has spoilers)
As the series begins Dahlia (Minnie Driver)has just been paroled from prison. During her two-year sentence, she has developed various drug addictions. In her absence, Wayne and the children have been continuing to act as con artists across the US. After a brief reunion with their Traveller clan, the family flees to avoid an arranged marriage for Di Di, and because Wayne has stolen the clan's hoard of cash. After getting into an altercation and RV chase with another Traveller family, the Malloys are involved in a car accident that kills a very wealthy couple (the eponymous Riches). Choosing not to return to their clan camp, they instead adopt the Riches' identity in suburban Baton Rouge, Louisiana and live as buffers, as they call mundane, law abiding people.

Is it any good?
Probably the worst part of the show is Izzard's accent. Bad, bad, bad. Driver's is pretty good, which makes Izzard's barely perceptible American accent look even worse.

Ignoring that flaw, which is hardly fatal, it's all looking quite nice. It's a dark show, but funny ?��Ǩ��� and not in a dark comedy way, but in a funny way. We get to see our heroes being really quite nasty and screwed up, but they're still loveable, particularly in their deep devotion to each other. I'm not utterly convinced that Traveller life is the way it's depicted in the show, but it's an interesting neo-Gypsy scene, all the same.

Of all Izzard's many acting roles over the years, this one looks like the best outlet for his personality: there are lines of dialogue you know are either ad-libbed or written by someone who knows his joke style backwards. It's certainly better than My Super Ex-Girlfriend, even if you do see his arse at one point.

Of course, there's a complete format change at the end of the pilot, so maybe the rest of it will be really rubbish. But I'm hopeful. Oh so hopeful.

Cast
Eddie Izzard (Wayne Malloy)
Minnie Driver (Dahlia Malloy)
Todd Stashwick (Dale Malloy)
Shannon Marie Woodward (Di Di Malloy)
Aidan Mitchell (Sam Malloy)

Related entries

  • March 31, 2007: Third-episode verdict: The Riches
    My third-episode verdict on The Riches
  • June 30, 2009: Review: Hung 1x1
    A review of the first episode of HBO's Hung
  • June 23, 2010: Review: Scoundrels 1x1
    A review of the first episode of ABC's Scoundrels

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