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"Epic Proportions"

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Every season provides a number of numbingly mindless shows meant for the proverbial tired businessman, bored housewife, and household drudge of either sex. This "culinary" or "digestive" theater produces resounding hits and crashing fiascos without obvious differences between them. The prime current example is Epic Proportions, another of those tiresome satires on Hollywood that fiction, theater, and film keep relentlessly churning out.

Here a DeMille-like director is helming in the Arizona desert a superspectacular about mankind's early history. When he sulkily withdraws into a pyramid, the reins improbably devolve on a cute blonde assistant in charge of the hordes of extras. Among them are a pair of brothers with whom the cutie gets successively involved. One of them was in a high-school marching band; with such knowledge of group movement, he takes over the direction. The other supplants him in the cutie's arms. It is all cacklingly but unfunnily absurd; that one of the co-authors, David Crane, was one of the creators of TV's Friends impresses me no more than that Larry Cohen was not.

The gifted and enchanting Kristin Chenoweth is the only real asset here, but with deadweight the shoulders of Hercules could not carry, what can her rather more slender ones do? The producers of this generally panned show are struggling to keep it afloat, in a gesture that is either extraordinarily brave or catastrophically deluded.


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