Picks and Pans Review: Tracey Ullman: Live & Exposed

UPDATED 05/16/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/16/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

HBO (Sat., May 14, 9:30 p.m. ET)

bgwhite bgwhite   

It must have seemed like a good idea: Abundantly talented Tracey Ullman goes onstage and presents an autobiography of sorts, showing how experience inspired many comic characters she created for her series and specials.

So why isn't Live & Exposed more entertaining? The theatrical format has a distancing effect on the viewer, and the direction makes it worse. Sometimes Ullman plays roles in costume and makeup; sometimes she doesn't alter her appearance but performs in front of large photos of the fully realized characters. Such bet-hedging betrays a fear that the audience's imagination can't be trusted. A more substantive problem is that Ullman's past isn't always a reliable source of laughs. She could skip her dancing days, and the special wouldn't suffer. You'll be touched and amused by Ullman's memories of doing one-girl shows for her widowed mother, but on the whole this is a letdown.


Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

Latest Photos

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters