More US reviews for Angry Boys

More US reviews for Angry Boys divide reviewers, ranging from "huge laughs" to "tedious."

More reviews have emerged from the US for Angry Boys, which begins tomorrow on HBO.

This time some of the reviews are more prominent.

While the San Francisco Chronicle  and Washington Times were favourable, Variety and the NY Daily News were not.

San Francisco Chronicle:
The most shocking aspect of “Angry Boys” is that it’s not as dumb as it may sound. There’s a kind of poignancy about all the “boys” in the show, whether they’re twins who torment each other only out of love, or Blake Oakfield, who resists taking responsibility for his family because the only time he ever felt fully in charge of his life was when he was a younger surfing champion, or the inmates in juvie who are probably getting more affection from Gran than they ever got from their actual parents. On one level, “Angry Boys” is an equal-opportunity offender, but its infectiously juvenile humor, not to mention its secret heart and, of course, the appeal of Chris Lilley’s multiple impersonations, make it very hard to stay angry for long.

Sioux City Journal:
If you could watch it all at once, you’d fall for “Angry Boys'” charms. Spread over a period of weeks, you might want to look away — but don’t. Lilley digs underneath the skin of his characters (even Jen, his weakest) and finds emotions we all recognize. He uses the full range of language, too, (it’s not rated for Mature Audiences for nothing) and gets huge laughs — particularly when S.mouse tries to detail his rather pitiful struggle. “Summer Heights High” was more accessible (who can forget Mr. G and his inappropriate original musical?) but didn’t probe as deeply as this one. “Angry Boys” is like Eminem’s “8 Mile,” Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” — it reveals another layer that says plenty about Lilley the writer and performer. The last half-hour — the one that ties everything up — shows his genius as both. It takes patience to get to. But patience is amply rewarded.

Chris Lilley — Australia’s answer to Sacha Baron Cohen — returns to U.S. TV with another hilarious mockumentary. If you missed his ingenious “Summer Heights High,” there’s a gaping hole in your life that you should fill immediately. Like “SHH,” the crafty chameleon plays six wildly different characters in “Angry Boys,” including a domineering Japanese mother, a surfing champ (who’s a few nuts shy of a complete package) and black American rapper S.mouse. His hip-hop hits “Slap My Elbow” and “Three-Legged Dog” might not be as catchy as Mr. G’s “Naughty Girl,” but we’re still in E-E-E-E Ecstasy about the “Boys’ ” American premiere.

Washington Times:
Now Mr. Lilley is back with the even more ambitious “Angry Boys,” a 12-episode showcase where he tackles a half-dozen personalities in an examination of boys and men who are misunderstood, self-deluding and typically at odds with the opposite sex. By turns painful, bitterly funny and illuminating, the series premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday on HBO, with two half-hour episodes airing weekly……This spectrum of characters — and the geographic range they represent — speaks to the higher stakes for which Mr. Lilley (who created, wrote, co-produced and co-directed the series) is playing this time around. With its documentary format, “Angry Boys” seems to unfold spontaneously, but Mr. Lilley said it was tightly scripted, even storyboarded, before shooting started.

Lilley’s shtick is, with an exaggerated emphasis on foul language and moments of general discomfort to obscure those shortcomings. And I don’t think that reaction is cultural as much as it is simply a case of the show being low-brow and, once Lilley gets past the basic conceit, uninventive. In any event, the episodes will be running through January and into February, and I’m sure somebody in the HBO universe will like them. They didn’t leave this boy laughing, though, or even feeling angry. I was just … bored.

NY Daily News:
Nathan, the target of this mockery, may or may not sense what’s going on, since Daniel says he’s also a little slow. But the two have a lot in common, including the tendency to do much of their communicating with a raised middle finger. On some level this may be brilliant observational commentary. As television, it’s tedious. Another character here is Gran, the boys’ 65-year-old grandmother, whose day job is disciplinarian-in-residence at the youth correctional facility. She joins the short if memorable list of masculine female sports coaches whose simple existence is a big part of the joke. Think Coach Beiste on “Glee.” Gran is prone to yelling things like, “Get outta the f—ing way, you f—er!” But then we see she also has a sensitive side, because she raises and dotes on guinea pigs. You’re getting the drift here. It’s possible that after 12 episodes all this will come together into a riveting statement on the tragicomedy of life. It’s more possible that long before episode 12, the average viewer will be sound asleep.

Angry Boys: early US reviews


8 Responses

  1. Angry Boys was brilliant – it will become a cult series. Like avocado and blue cheese, it is an aquired taste and takes quite a bit of getting used to but it is increadibly funny, pin-point accurate in its depiction of different character-types and dark but honest in its humour. I actually found the blend of sensitivity (eg. Gran) and courseness (S.Mouse/Jen) wonderfully balanced and the genius of the ending which even brought together the theme music was superb. I loved the introduction too – as someone who teaches boys as a job, it hit the mark with its uncluttered commentary on maleness. Small wonder that the reports from the East and West coast of the US were favourable and those venturing into the hinterland were baffled by the sophistication of the humour. Go Chris Lilley! – you and the likes of Tim Minchin are the comic geniuses of our day – the modern day Monty Pythonists.

  2. @deedeedragons – quite so. The relentless press is starting to grate. He’s a talented guy, but the show stunk; everyone knows it including him; everyone shut up already about it. Chris – write something new and move on.

  3. How about writing in the brief:

    “While Variety and the NY Daily News were not favourable, the San Francisco Chronicle, Sioux City Journal, MSNBC and Washington Times were.”

    Definitely seeming more well received outside the boarders of this country.

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