DVD Review: THE RICHES – Season Two

Fox Home Entertainment
Release date: March 24th, 2009
MSRP: $29.99

Stars: Eddie Izzard, Minnie Driver, Shannon Marie Woodward, Noel Fisher, Aidan Mitchel

Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver are Doug and Cherien Rich, an upper middle class couple with three children living the typical life in mainstream U.S.A….only not really. They are actually Wayne and Dahlia Malloy, a couple of grifters (part of a large, gypsy-like clan called the Travelers) that have assumed the identities of a couple that died as a result of their actions.

Living the typical middle class life is not as easy as it looks, as Wayne and Dahlia have found out. As season two starts, they are about to hit the road. Sadly, the vehicle won’t start. It is not the RV’s fault, as it has been messed with by a fellow grifter.

They are initially quite upset, but then Doug/Wayne finds himself on the verge of a business deal that could make him thirteen million dollars. With that kind of coin, they could live happily ever after as whoever they damn well please!

Of course this means more lies and more work at being the Riches. I mentioned that they are three children, well any lie that two must tell is that much harder when five are involved. While plenty of films have showcased grifters and con artists, I can’t remember one that featured an entire family.

Carl (Noel Fisher) is the oldest and thoroughly enjoys the live of a grifter. That little fact certainly makes living the straight life a tad harder. Delilah (Shannon Marie Woodward) in the middle one and was on the verge of an arranged marriage (in the Travelers) when they fled into the world of the Riches. Delilah has best adapted to this new life of all of the Malloys. The youngest, Sam, is very artistic and is prone to cross-dressing.

While the children are interesting, the show occasionally struggles with so many protagonists. Given the complexity of the subject matter, I can’t help but think it would move a little easier if there was just one or two children. It does not help that season two contained only seven episodes. Things may have had a better balance had they been allowed twelve or thirteen episodes as is normal for cable dramas.

The three children do a nice job, but it is Minnie and, to a lesser extent, Eddie that really shine here. Each character has there is own issues to deal with and are often at odds with one another. Unlike many con me..folk in Hollywood, these two are given very real issues and problems. Dalhia is fresh out of prison and struggling to deal with a substance addiction. Every member of the family is presented as a well-fleshed out character.

The flip side is that many of the conflicts and problems that arise are ones we have seen a million times before. At some points, I felt like the writers watched old soaps and episodes of Eight Is Enough looking for material.

One other issue is that Wayne is not always as smooth as he should be. Some of the lies that come out of his mouth are weak enough that I question the intelligence of those around him. This is not a knock on Izzard, but rather those that write his lines. This is a man that gets by on his wits and talking ability.

1.78:1 widescreen is the format, same as the original broadcast. The picture is solid, but there are moments in which pixelation is noticeable. Not enough to ruin the show, but something this recent should not, in my opinion, have these kinds of issues. The overall quality is solid.

The Riches is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. But since this is a dialogue driven show, there is not a whole lot of audio dynamics to be showcased. There are a few nice scenes in which background music shines.

I suppose the modest success of the show led them to avoid putting much time or money into this set, but they could have at least given us some face time with the leads. We get a six minute interview with Eddie Izzard. Why not get Minnie and Eddie together for a series discussion?

The acting of Izzard and Driver makes The Riches worthwhile, but it is not without it’s issues. As I said, it occasionally feels to crowded and, at times, some of the drama feels forced. But the acting is great and that overrides the shows weaknesses.

Order season two of The Riches.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from Randy, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.