I don't know Howie does it...

I don't know how it's currently doing in the ratings, but for the first couple of weeks after it debuted, my wife, daughter and I were major fans of the television game show, Deal or No Deal, hosted by Howie Mandel.

Once the producers knew they had a hit on their hands, they really began to milk it, and the show began to be more commercials and fluff than actual game. Toward the end it got to be an actual chore to watch, but it was worth it to see Howie Mandel.

Over the years I've hated/loved Howie in a variety of television and movie projects. I thought he was outstanding in the early 1980s drama/comedy St. Elsewhere, and even though I wasn't a member of the target audience, I laughed a lot at his voiceover work in animated series like Bobby's World, Amazing Live Sea Monkeys, Little Monsters, and Muppet Babies.

Over the years Howie Mandel has kept his hand in the field of stand-up comedy, and that's where my opinion of him varies wildly. He's had me rolling on the floor laughing myself sick, yet the next time I watch him I throw the remote across the floor in disgust. For a while I used to think he was following in Andy Kaufman's footsteps, doing some sort of performance routine, where he was playing a prank on the audience. But no, it became clear that he really does suck super hard sometimes. Really, really hard. Is he aware of it? He's got to be, but how do you from one extreme to another with no middle ground? The guy blows hot or cold and that’s the limit to his range.

I watched Howie co-host Live with Regis and Kelly this morning and he totally killed. I laughed out loud too many times to count. Dusty and Yoshi, two of our most tolerant cats, left the room when they came to realize that I wasn't going to let them sleep.

Try and figure out humor. I dare you. Some people howl in delight over that mellon-smashin' Gallagher, while others giggle and chortle over shows like Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives.


She's like Wolverine, except she's cuter and she can get through airport security...

Save the cheerleader, save the world, save this show.

If you're not watching Heroes on NBC, you should be, so just go ahead and tell everyone you are and catch up on the episodes as quickly as you can.

And here I thought Misfits of Science was our one chance for a network show about superheroes

Weekend rentals—due back by Tuesday

For a nice change of pace, Val and I actually got around to watching the movies we rented for the weekend.

We’d both been waiting to see Thank You for Smoking, having missed it while it was in the theaters. We both love a good satire and Smoking had a mouthful of sharp teeth. It hit the ground running and started out wickedly funny. Aaron Eckhart owned every scene he was in, and he was surrounded by a talented and funny supporting cast.

Unfortunately the movie got soft about midway through. The narrative thread got a bit tangled and I wasn’t sure what the movie was about anymore. It ended with a thud rather than a bang, but the film wasn’t a total loss by any means. There was plenty of good humor.

The second film we watched (Dakota joined us—making it a family affair) was Click, featuring the sporadically talented Adam Sandler. I didn’t like the previews for this film when it first hit the theaters and the commercials for the DVD didn’t win me over either. But, Dakota really wanted to watch it with us, so I tried to clear any preconceived judgments out of my mind and give it a chance. Sandler can be a very funny man at times.
This didn’t turn out to be one of those times. This is an ugly movie about an ugly character (Sandler) who learns the error of his ways and is handed a second chance, a do-over, to start fresh. He doesn’t earn it—it’s just handed to him. The script is lumpy, depending on fart jokes and dogs humping stuffed animals for laughs, and it expects the viewer to swallow some massive contrivances to keep the plot from completely falling apart.

One of the most disturbing things in Click, and something that totally strips away any of the suspension of disbelief you might be able to muster up, is when we see Sandler’s character in the future, when he’s become extremely overweight. Instead of strapping Adam Sandler into a Fat Bastard-type fat suit, the director decided to paste Sandler’s head onto a fat guy’s shirtless body. I can’t begin to tell you how disruptive I found the special effect to be. Even when they actually got the head and body to properly match up, it still looks horribly wrong. Then, to make matters worse, when we see the character later, he’s dressed in a 3X jogging suit, that looks like it’s pumped full of helium. So you go from the real body of a fat guy to Sandler skipping around in a lightweight fat suit that doesn’t even begin to look realistic.

One of the biggest sins Click is guilty of is wasting a precious natural resource—Christopher Walken. Until now I didn’t think it was possible for the man to be bland and unfunny in a movie. Now I know differently.