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This week's reviews: 'Quitting,' 'Hairspray' songs, more


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(PEOPLE) -- This week, PEOPLE.COM looks at the film "Quitting," Broadway cast recording of "Hairspray" and the WB's "Everwood."

Go to: Movies | Music | TV

Movie review: 'Quitting'

Hongsheng
Jia Hongsheng plays himself in the drug addiction drama "Quitting."

Jia Hongsheng, a Chinese film star of the early '90s, plays himself in this docudrama about his recovery from the heroin addiction that ruined his career by age 30. In fact, every character is played by a real-life counterpart: parents, junkie friends, doctors.

Yet verisimilitude doesn't seem to be director Zhang Yang's aim. An inexplicable tone of scrupulous, becalming detachment shrouds everything, like dust sheets over a room of antiques. Somewhere in there (I think) is the notion of insanity as a rational response to society-a subversive idea in communist China. Still, if this is a case study, shouldn't we know the subject?

Bottom line: Hardly working

Music review: 'Hairspray'

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Original Broadway Cast Recording (Sony Classical)

Broadway doesn't generate hit songs these days, alas, but even if it did, would any of the songs from this crowd-pleasing new Broadway musical (based on John Waters's 1988 movie) make it on the radio?

With songs written by composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman, this soundtrack is all showstoppers and no show. Nearly every track is a big, bombastic number, and though many songs are a lot of fun and the production brims with restless energy, the pacing seems forced.

The singing is spotty, except for the powerful, gospel-R&B voice of Mary Bond Davis on "I Know Where I've Been." The mix needs more moments of quiet romance like "Without Love": "Without love, life is like a beat that you can't follow/ Without love, life is Doris Day at the Apollo."

Bottom line: Rent the movie instead

TV review: 'Everwood'

WB (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)

Some guys can't seem to learn, even if they are medical geniuses.

The September 16 opener of this soapy drama quickly establishes that the renowned Dr. Andrew Brown (Treat Williams) concentrates on neurosurgery while neglecting his wife and two children. After his spouse is killed in a car crash, the guilt-ridden doc decides to quit New York City and move the family to Everwood, Colorado, where he pictures himself as a caring parent and selfless general practitioner. Unfortunately Brown fails to consult his sullen 15-year-old son Ephram (Gregory Smith) on the relocation, and this oversight leads to simmering resentment followed by a screaming fight.

So what does altruistic Dr. Brown do in the second episode? Throws himself into his new no-fee practice and gives his kids short shrift. Result: Ephram tells him off again. Dad had better smarten up soon because this routine gets old fast.

Williams is likable even when his character isn't rational. (Would you trust a doctor who talked to his dead wife?) There's amusing friction between newcomer Brown and supercilious Dr. Abbott (Tom Amandes), who calls himself "Everwood's primary care physician." But the writers have to go and push it: Ephram falls for Abbott's daughter (Emily VanCamp), and the rival doctor's salty mother (Debra Mooney) enlists as Brown's nurse.

Bottom line: Treacly but tolerable


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