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Review: 'True Lies' Is Not a Good Television Show

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 16, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 16, 2023 |


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This is going to be brief because it doesn’t merit anything else. CBS’s True Lies is based on the James Cameron/Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jamie Lee Curtis film. The film was great because Arnie is a spy, Curtis is ridiculously good as the wife who discovers that her husband is a spy when she’s accidentally pulled into a mission, and it’s the one movie that Tom Arnold is great in because it’s the one movie where “Tom Arnold” is the perfect character for the film.

The cast of the television series is fine. Steve Howey (Shameless) is in the Arnie role;
Ginger Gonzaga is in Jamie Lee Curtis’ role; and Omar Benson Miller is in the Tom Arnold role. He is the best part of the show. The pilot episode is a fairly generic television version of the movie reduced to 42 minutes with a fraction of the budget. The pilot is OK because the fun is when the wife finds out that her husband has been a spy for 17 years and finds herself involved in the mission.

From there on out, however, the wife joins her husband in the CIA, and the two of them play spy together and try to keep it a secret from their kids. That is not a particularly interesting secret. The storylines are not particularly interesting, either: They are boilerplate network spy stories. Howey and Gonzaga are decent, but there is little separating True Lies from an NCIS or a CSI other than the fact that the central couple is married.

The IP is wasted. It was a good movie. It should have remained a movie. As network spy shows go, ABC’s The Company You Keep is considerably better.