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STRONG ACTING CAN'T RESCUE DULL 'DEAL'.



Byline: DAVID David, in the Bible
David, d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure.
 KRONKE

>TV CRITIC

"The Deal" is kind of the art-house version of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" -- a low-budget sequel that jettisons its principal character in favor of a scene-stealing supporting character.

What we have here is a prequel pre·quel  
n.
A literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative takes place before that of a preexisting work or a sequel.



[pre- + (se)quel.]
, of sorts, to Oscar contender "The Queen," from the same director (Stephen Frears) and screenwriter (Peter Morgan This article is about the British screenwriter. For other uses of the same name, see Peter Morgan (disambiguation).

Peter Morgan (born April 10, 1963 in London) is an English Academy Award nominated screenwriter and playwright.
) and again starring Michael Sheen Michael Sheen (born 5 February 1969) is an award-winning Welsh actor perhaps best known for his portrayal of Tony Blair in the Stephen Frears directed-films The Deal and The Queen.  as Tony Blair. (In fact, "The Deal" was produced in 2003 and was brought here, no doubt, due to the success of "The Queen.")

This film concerns Blair's machinations to became prime minister of Britain in the first place, cajoling the Labour Party's favorite son and his longtime friend, Gordon Brown (David Morrissey), to be the party's candidate in 1994.

Blair promised to support Brown when he decided to step down, which he did earlier this year, being wildly unpopular due to his support of George Bush's war with Iraq. And, in fact, Brown is prime minister today.

While "The Queen" mined territory that resonated with the whole world -- Elizabeth II's reaction to the untimely death of Princess Diana -- "The Deal" examines arcane British political theory, considerably less compelling subject matter for a drama.

In an HBO Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO)
A form of oxygen therapy in which the patient breathes oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

Mentioned in: Ozone Therapy
 film earlier this year, "Longford," Morgan transformed an even more obscure piece of British political history (to U.S. viewers, at least) into genuinely compelling drama.

Here, despite solid performances from Sheen and Morrissey, "The Deal" feels vaguely medicinal, a politically correct politically correct Politically sensitive adjective Referring to language reflecting awareness and sensitivity to another person's physical, mental, cultural, or other disadvantages or deviations from a norm; a person is not mentally retarded, but  history lesson with an occasionally satisfying epigram epigram, a short, polished, pithy saying, usually in verse, often with a satiric or paradoxical twist at the end. The term was originally applied by the Greeks to the inscriptions on stones. .

David Kronke, (818) 713-3638

david.kronke@dailynews.com www.insidesocal.com/tv/

THE DEAL - Two stars

>What: Director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Peter Morgan, who gave us "The Queen," examine how Tony Blair rose to power in England.

Where: HBO.

When: 11 a.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 1 p.m. Friday and 11 p.m. Nov. 21.

In a nutshell: Terrific performances, medicinal message.
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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 10, 2007
Words:319
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