Leverage's "The Boost Job" Could Use a Boost Itself
· Timothy Hutton
· Beth Riesgraf
· Aldis Hodge
· Gina Bellman
· Christian Kane
· Bill Engvall
Television Review: Leverage, "The Boost Job"
by R.J. Carter
Published: July 29, 2010
Blue Collar comedian Bill Engvall guest-stars in this week's Leverage episode, "The Boost Job." Engvall plays Duke Penzer, a former racecar driver who has retired into a life of selling used cars at cut-rate prices. The reason he can sell so low is because he doesn't pay for his inventory, as he runs a crew of thieves who chop cars and modify electronic identification. When a former customer gets caught and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, he turns to the Leverage team (rather than, you know, telling the cops where he bought the vehicle), who set up a sting to take the thief down, relying on the newly revealed bits of Parker's childhood.
It's hard to review this episode, because I was so overall disappointed with it -- a rarity for me, because I do like this series so much overall. However, Albert Kim's script has a number of flaws in it, not ending with the rather simplistic setup. The characters aren't nearly as fully realized as they normally are. The spotlight is on Parker (Beth Riesgraf) with this story, and she's the least "Parkery" she's ever been -- moody and pensive. When she reveals knowledge of stealing cars, the team seems shocked -- shocked, I say -- that the girl who's been a thief all her life, who has that as the very core of her character, would know anything about stealing cars.
My disappointment doesn't end there, however. Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is treated as more of a technological genie than ever -- but not for his mastery of computer networks. Rather, the team's hotshot IT guy pulls out a few tricks worthy of James Bond, which I can't talk about much more than that without spoiling much of the plot. The icing on the cake, however, is that the job gets screwed up, and yet the timing still works out just as planned -- even though things have gone completely away from the plan. It succeeds in spite of the crew's efforts, rather than because of some last-second move of genius.
I certainly can't fault the actors in this one, though. Engvall turns in a surprisingly good performance as a villain, and the regular ensemble does the best they can with what they have to work with. There's a nice scene where Sophie (Bellman) gets to put her grifter skills to work selling cars, but even this is stepped on by another moment of pedantic narrative so the audience can be told why what she's doing works. Toss in ancillary characters named Lefty and Shorty (in addition to Engvall's Duke) and you have to wonder if the writers forgot the intelligence of their audience during the scripting session.
Here's Your Sign. (l-r) Bill Engvall, Gina Bellman and Timothy Hutton in
Leverage, "The Boost Job" on TNT.
photo credit: Erik Heinila/TNT
Leverage, "The Boost Job," airs Sunday at 9pm | 8pm CT on TNT.