Main cast: Brandon Routh (Bobby), Shiri Appleby (Tracy), Barbara Tyson (Candace), John Billingsley (Phil), Charlie Hofheimer (Scott), Brooklyn Sudano (Arlene), Peter Strand Rumpel (Ron), Tom Carey (Simmons), James D Hopkin (Andrew), Meredith Bailey (Heather), Alex Fatovich (Meryl), Emily Talia (Sandra), and Jordan Schartner (Ken)
Director: Mary Harron
Yes, Community is another take on the whole suburban community from hell thing that has been done many times before, and unfortunately, this particular take doesn’t offer anything new or interesting.
Tracy really wants to have a baby and to raise that brat in a more idealistic suburb environment, so she and Bobby move to the Commons, an apparently perfect gated community that offers safety, security, and best of everything from schools to quality of life. The neighbors are welcoming, kind, and what not… until Bobby becomes very, very disturbed by the overly intrusive nature of the whole community, which dictates how every resident should live and behave. They are especially preoccupied in wanting Tracy and Bobby to have a kid, apparently because their genetics would result in a superior baby. Gee, that sounds familiar…
After attending a “resident support group” which ends up with an unfaithful wife being given a medieval-era punishment – apparently diving a family also means dividing a community, and they can’t have that – he wants out. Tracy, however, is convinced that she has found the perfect home, and that Bobby is just being melodramatic.
The first thing that stands out here is how wooden Brandon Routh’s acting is. Is he here because he couldn’t find other ways to pay the rent, because the poor man looks like he is out of his leagues here. Shiri Appleby fares much better, but her character’s behavior and motivations change based on plot requirements to the point that Tracy feels more like a plot device than anything else. John Billingsley plays the sole dissenter in the community that sympathizes with Bobby, and I can’t help thinking that he would have made a far better Bobby. He is, after all, capable of displaying more range than a tree stump.
In the end, though, Community is a dry and boring episode because it merely retreads grounds that have been covered many times before. Perhaps, today, it can be seen a parable to illustrate how the social media landscape is today, with people determined to police other people in terms of tone, ideology, behavior and more, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is dull, dull, dull.