DAVID BIANCULLI

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TOUR DE PHARMACY
July 8, 2017  | By David Bianculli

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

 

It’s a big Andy Samberg night on HBO. After the premiere of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping earlier in the night, the network presents the premiere of Tour de Pharmacy, a sports mockumentary starring Samberg, in the vein of 2015’s 7 Days in Hell. This time, though, it’s about pro cycling, not pro tennis. But Samberg as the star, and Murray Miller as the writer, and Jake Szymanski as the director, are reprising their Hell approach: concocting an imaginary sporting event from decades ago, and building a documentary about it, spoofing both the sport and filmmaking at the same time. This time, the “event” is Tour de France, the pro cycling event, where this fictional premise claims that almost all its competitors used illicit drugs to compete. This comedy isn’t entirely a laughing matter, though: It includes, as one of its centerpieces, an appearance by Lance Armstrong – the disgraced cycling athlete – as himself, with his voice and appearance “altered,” with comic ineffectiveness, to disguise his identity. Whether you think that’s funny may depend on your position on the old “books by crooks” concept. Should Armstrong’s indiscretions be dismissed, and accepted, as a laughing matter? In a comic documentary about accused sexual abusers, would it be funny to include a guest appearance by, say, Bill Cosby?

 
 
 
 
 
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