‘Paul T. Goldman’ review: ‘Borat’ sequel’s director blends fiction and fact in a way that’s as weird as it is funny



CNN

The term “hybrid” has been floating around very loosely in the entertainment space, but it really applies to “Paul T. Goldman,” a scripted Peacock series with a backstory that combines fiction with a kind of reality from the director of the “Borat” sequel. – “making” scenes of documentary series. Interesting and bizarre, the main point of the series feels like the fact that we are all the protagonists of our story, at least in our own highly subjective eyes.

It’s really hard to know where to start describing the program, which, after pulling off the project for years, hilariously notes the fact that its first gnaw was from Quibi. Of course, this “quick bites” streaming service quickly shut down, allowing Peacock to step into the void. Critics also picked up five of the six episodes, and how the series ended is an important question mark, depending on what came before it.

For starters, “Paul T. Goldman” is not the real name of the main character, who claims to have been scammed by his second wife, a swindler who married him for his money and claimed to be taking care of an elderly relative. long absence.

Goldman (confusing to call it any other name) became obsessed with uncovering details about the plan, writing a book and movie review about the experience. So Woliner shoots these scenes in front of real actors, including well-known actors like Dennis Haysbert, Frank Grillo, James Remar, and Dee Wallace, where Goldman is the weirdo star of his own movie, and then like Goldman makes the audience aware of all the off-screen antics. He interacts with his confused but polite co-stars who (understandably) don’t know what to do with him.

“I’m an ordinary man caught in extraordinary circumstances,” he says in direct-to-camera interviews, and insists that “Nobody can make up” this story. Later, however, Goldman freely admits that parts of the script version were made up or embellished for dramatic effect, blurring the lines even more.

To complicate things further, Woliner herself is a regular in the movie – fulfilling her star’s strange requests and suggestions from Goldman that she thinks will improve things – sometimes tapping into photos, videos and audio of real characters with their faces disguised.

As the episodes progress, it becomes clear that Goldman has made up details about much of what’s going on, making it hard to accept what he’s saying as it seems.

Like “Borat,” there’s discomfort and comedy in this nexus of fiction and manipulated reality, and how oblivious Goldman seems to be what it might look like when all this is put together. Is it cruel to succumb to his delusions of grandeur? Hard to say, considering he had the time of his life.

Produced by Seth Rogen’s company, “Paul T. Goldman” comes at a time when true crime docuseries are booming, using frequent reenactments to amp up the drama. Woliner has essentially taken this app to weird extremes and created something that, while a little embarrassing at times, manages to feel fresh and sometimes quite hilarious.

The net result is a show that is as oddly watchable as it is hard to describe. If only Quibi lived to see this.

“Paul T. Goldman” premieres January 1 on Peacock.

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