In Church’s debut comedy, a notorious film critic must move beyond his vitriolic public persona if he wants a second chance with the girl of his dreams.
Bad-boy TV personality Charlie “The Snake” Evans (formerly an obituary writer named Charlie Zimmerman) is known far and wide for completely obliterating the films he reviews. He’s also a secret romantic, but his famous actress mother’s early death and his real estate mogul father’s coldness have bred an outwardly unhappy young man. Charlie is popular with viewers but universally disliked on set for his inconsiderate behavior and insistent demands. One fateful day, he meets a beautiful, mysterious woman outside a movie theater and falls in love after they discuss their mutual favorite film, Lost in Her Eyes. Cringeworthy misunderstandings abound when Charlie later gives his meanest review yet to an independent film called Four Golden Stars, unaware that it was written and directed by the same woman. Much of the novel showcases Church’s punchy, abrasive, one-liner humor, particularly during to Charlie’s reviews. In one instance, for example, Charlie spits out his coffee in an attempt to get “the taste of cinematic failure” out of his mouth. In earlier sections, Charlie is wracked by self-deprecation and severe confidence struggles. Church introduces an entity called “Astral Charlie” who acts as an apparent expression of Charlie’s id, floating around in the world, comfortably doing things that the actual Charlie wishes he could accomplish. Although some of these scenes are funny, particularly when Astral Charlie realizes that Charlie’s Four Golden Stars review is a disaster before his namesake does, the distinction between the two Charlies can at times seem muddled. Several wild dream sequences that appear throughout the book are humorous but almost seem separate from the rest of the story.
A fast-paced, sometimes-slapstick film industry novel with a vibrant cast of characters.