Friday, 16 December 2011

LIFE'S TOO SHORT, 1.6 – episode six

Friday, 16 December 2011

I've acclimatized to Life's Too Short, which is a fancier way of saying I don't expect it to be very good, but take whatever goodness it manages to squeeze from each half-hour. After last week's uncharacteristic episode that contained no celebrity cameos, things were back to normal here. Warwick Davis threw a party, that he invited his wife (Jo Enright) and her divorce lawyer/lover (Matthew Holness) to, and tried to once again make a big showbiz impression by filling the guest list with famous faces. Naturally, he could only scrape together Les Dennis, Shaun Williamson and Keith Chegwin—with the added bonus of presenter Cat Deeley, on loan from an agency for £5000.

As usual, there were a few amusing moments here and there (Warwick's steps to reach his front door's spy-hole; Les, Keith and Shaun discussing the best way to commit suicide), but there was also plenty of misfires (like dopey Cheryl (Rosamund Hanson) and the "fridge swap" cock-up). Did the good outweigh the bad? Not really, but Life's Too Short at least has some innate appeal in Warwick's performance. I don't find it a tough or annoying experience to watch, just very disappointing given the pedigree behind it. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are in too much of a comfort zone, when they really needed to be stretching themselves at this point in their careers. There are too many scenes where you can see the punchlines coming, or the writing just feels very familiar. After so many years poking fun at celebrities, that particular source of humour is looking rather stale.

Oh well. Deeley was game for a laugh, even if the script didn't really give her anything very funny to do, and at least recent episodes have put Warwick's life in the spotlight. I just wish I cared about anything he's going through, as the divorce storyline just doesn't mean anything to me, and his romance with Amy isn't getting the attention it deserves. It's also a shame so much of Life's Too Short was previewed before broadcast, because there are always about three scenes in every episode I remember seeing before.

written & directed by Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant / 15 December 2011 / BBC Two