Review: HBO's 'Enlightened' an awkward new comedy for Laura Dern

There's a long and rich history of comedies about characters severely lacking in self-awareness. Just in the past decade, we've been blessed with "The Office" (both David Brent and Michael Scott), "Arrested Development" (most of the family, but especially Tobias and GOB) and "Modern Family" (Phil Dunphy), to name a few. People who aren't aware how the rest of the world perceives them can be incredibly amusing in the right context. 

HBO's new "Enlightened" (it premieres tonight at 9:30) - in which Laura Dern plays a woman who never seems to realize how off-putting everyone finds her - is not the right context, unfortunately. Despite writing from Mike White - who's been involved in TV shows and movies as wide-ranging as "Freaks and Geeks," "School of Rock," "Pasadena" and "Year of the Dog" (among many others - it's stifling, awkward and just plain not funny. 

Dern (in her first regular TV role) plays Amy Jellicoe, executive at a large, soul-crushing corporation called Abaddon.(*) Amy has an affair with her boss that blows up in ugly fashion, and we first meet her as she's having an epic, very public meltdown that involves smeared makeup, tears, screamed profanity and an amazing feat of strength - and leads Amy to take a very long break at a New Age tropical retreat. Read More...


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