Imagine a world where every inhabitant is a hunk or a babe, a world in which there are no children and practically no one gets older than, say, thirtysomething. It's a world with a huge population, but you still run into the same people over and over again. Science fiction? No, South Beach. Courtesy of executive producer Jennifer Lopez.
UPN's new drama does what even the most ardent proponents of euthanasia can't--eliminate practically all the seniors from Miami. In the process, it fashions a universe in which all women are models and all men have some sort of show biz career. And, every now and then, if a story emerges, it never hangs around for very long or gets told with conviction.
Starring in this all-style, no-substance parade of eye candy is Marcus Coloma as Matt, a Brooklyn guy. He just broke up with Arielle (Odette Yustman), so she could leave New York with no regrets for a career as a model in Miami. (You probably thought people come to New York to be models, but now you know better.) Matt's best friend, Vincent (Chris Johnson), decides on a lark to go to Miami. Matt isn't interested until he learns just a few hours later that his college fund is gone, gambled away by his father. So they tool down I-95 and, once they reach South Beach, they quickly cross paths with Arielle.
By now, you're thinking what a small place South Beach is, but wait. It gets smaller. Matt gets hired to fix problems at a hotel in which the night club manager, Alex (Lee Thompson Young), is Arielle's new beau. And Vincent gets connected with shady operator Robert Fuentes (Giancarlo Esposito) who, incredibly, owns a minority stake in the very same hotel.
You have to give credit to Esposito and Vanessa Williams (who plays the hotel owner and Alex's mom) for trying to breathe some life into their roles, but it's like building a skyscraper with Silly Putty. And it doesn't help that most of the other cast members say their lines as if doing so was a form of punishment.
Granted, the show probably was bought and sold as a young demo magnet powered by women in bikinis and guys with splendid abs. Directors Jason Ensler (the first hour) and Darnell Martin (the second hour) keep up their end of the bargain by filling shot after shot with sand and surf and poolside tanning and sun-splashed palm trees. Still, you'd think that someone somewhere down the line, perhaps writers Matt Cirulnick and Greg Cirulnick, would have lobbied for the rudiments of a story, characters with texture and dialogue more sophisticated than shopping mall conversation.
Matt Evans: Marcus Coloma
Vincent: Chris Johnson
Elizabeth Bauer: Vanessa Williams
Alex Bauer: Lee Thompson Young
Arielle Casta: Odette Yustman
Robert Fuentes: Giancarlo Esposito
Charlie Evans: Michael Pare
El Guerrero: Pitbull
Brianna: Adrianne Palicki
Daniella: Selita Ebanks
Maggie: Meghan Ory
Executive producers: Tony Krantz, Jennifer Lopez, Simon Fields, Philip Levens; Co-executive producers: Matt Cirulnick, Nina Lederman; Producer: Terry Miller; Directors: Jason Ensler, Darnell Martin; Teleplay by: Matt Cirulnick, Philip Levens; Story: Matt Cirulnick, Greg Cirulnick; Production designer: J. Mark Harrington; Director of photography: Bob Gantz; Editor: Michael Schultz; Casting by: Sheila Guthrie. http://www.hollywood.com/tv/feature/id/3476324