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[Short Reviews]

SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS

Imagine reality TV gone berserk — Survivor mixed with Cops and The Running Man where the contestants are given handguns to shoot it out in a different milieu each week. At least that’s the concept behind this low-budget parody in which the reigning champ, a pregnant woman ready to drop (Brooke Smith), is returned to her hick Connecticut home town for the next bullet-riddled round robin. Her competition? A high-school darling, a crotchety old man, an unemployed goon, a sickeningly sweet nurse, and her former beau.

Series 7 begins with a bang as the heroine enters a convenience store and offs an opponent with cold-blooded aplomb. But though the construct of past relationships playing out during the death match engages, writer/director Daniel Minahan turns the final act into a tedious melodrama of reconciliation. None of the " contenders " is too likable either; they’re all trash-talking caricatures. Too bad, because Series 7 is a novel idea not quite ready for prime time

By Tom Meek

Issue Date: March 15-22, 2001