Review: THE BIG C

laura linney, the big c

From the network that brought you WEEDS, NURSE JACKIE and the UNITED STATES OF TARA comes THE BIG C, a tale about 42-year old Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) who after receiving life changing news, decides to make drastic and long overdue adjustments to the way she is living her life.

Now, before you let out the Big “G” (that’s groan in case you were wondering) and rightfully wonder why Showtime, the pay-cabler that once eschewed the formulaic tendencies of its broadcast brethren (yes we’re talking to you CBS) by producing groundbreaking series’ such as DEXTER and WEEDS is now offering up yet another half-hour dark comedy revolving around a super-talented actress [see: NURSE JACKIE’s Edie Falco, UNITED STATES OF TARA’s Toni Collette and WEEDS’ Mary-Louise Parker’s] dealing with big problems (like addiction to painkillers, multi-personality disorder and/or drugs), consider this: Laura Linney, for lack of a better word, rocks.

Indeed, there is a very good reason Linney’s mantle is close to collapse under the weight of her numerous Emmys and plethora of other hardware. As a reserved Minneapolis school teacher grappling with a very unfortunate Cancer diagnosis, she manages to elevate THE BIG C’s shortcomings (including a slightly-less than believable homeless brother, crazed elderly neighbor and an almost sitcom-y ex-husband) with the perfect mix of emotional and light-hearted beats. Whether she’s taking a special interest in one of her more truant summer-school students played by Precious’ Gabourey Sidibe (Telling her, “You can’t be fat and mean Andrea. You can either be fat and jolly or a skinny bitch, it’s up to you!”) or alerting her teenage son as to why his father isn’t living with them anymore (“I only wanted to raise one kid and I choose you and from now on I’m going to raise you so hard your head is going to spin.”) Linney’s Jamison truly makes the most out of what in almost any other actresses hands could have been a downright downer of a comedy. Which is reason enough for us to give THE BIG C, a big “A.”

THE BIG C premieres Monday August 16 at 10:30PM on Showtime (September 1 on the Super Channel in Canada)

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