'Puzzle' is Well Made, but a Few Pieces are Missing

Based on the film Rompecabezas, Puzzle is one of those little-known independent films that sneaks into theaters with little to no fanfare, although the fact that it is being promoted “from the producer of Little Miss Sunshine” should help it get noticed somewhat. Puzzle is a quiet, little film about a woman who discovers that jigsaw puzzles are the key to changing her life. While the subject matter doesn’t sound all that exciting, the film really isn’t about puzzles but instead about one finding their voice, or so it appears. It’s also a message film that has its own agenda expecting the audience to agree with the choices of the main character and applaud her “brave” behavior. Frankly, it just feels manipulative.

Directed by Marc Turtletaub, Puzzle’s most impactful scene comes within the first few minutes. We see Agnes (Kelly MacDonald) cleaning up the house and they decorating it for a birthday party. Then we see her serving appetizers while being ignored by the guests. …

"Work It" Isn't Working

Lee (Ben Koldyke) tells Angel (Amaury Nolasco) about
his new high-paying job as a woman. (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Tonight, January 3 marks the debut of ABC’s latest “Men Are Stupid” comedies – Work It. After wisely dumping the fall season’s flop, Man Up, they are trying out a Bosom Buddies-ish comedy. Buddies helped make Tom Hanks a household name. The stars of Work It can only hope for the same fate. Like its gender bender predecessor, Work It is embarrassing, offensive, not funny and has a bad laugh track. Why ABC thought this show was a good idea is a mystery.

In Work It, Lee and Angel are former employees of Pontiac looking for work. It is suggested that the current recession is more of a “man-cession” and their skills (salesman, head mechanic) are not in high demand. Lee learns that a pharmaceutical company, Coreco, is looking to hire new sales reps, but only female sales reps. Lee responds with raiding his wife’s closet and interviewing for the job as a woman. Surprise! He gets the job. He then tells Angel of his new opportunity and guess what? Angel gets a job as a woman as well!

Lee hides his new secret from his wife and daughter but learns how to be more sensitive to their needs. Angel develops a crush on his boss, who is said to be a lesbian. Let the high jinks begin.

Lee is played by Ben Koldyke, a fairly new actor who has made a few appearances in How I Met Your Mother, Big Love and 24. He is certainly likeable and might go far, if he can find a way out of this sitcom. Amaury Nolasco plays Angel who’s been featured in big screen movies like Transformers and The Rum Diary. From the pilot, it’s hard to tell if two have much chemistry or not due to the wild set up.

In short, Work It is just dumb. It has a one joke set up that can’t carry a series anymore than BB did decades earlier. It’s ironic, that in the now deceased show, Man Up, the wives wanted their husbands to be manlier. In Work It, the men “need to learn how to be better men by having to be better women.”

Work It follows Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing (whose pilot was nothing to shout about either, but has improved greatly) and appears before the première of Celebrity Wife Swap, a show that sounds tacky but is actually quite good. You might want to do a few chores around the house between the two.


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