NYT says actor who plays John Adams in HBO series was miscast

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When John Adams begins acting like a pompous windbag, his wife, Abigail, reproaches him with a single word.

“Ambition,” Abigail warns, when Adams tells her that he will get a lot of attention if he defends British soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial.

“Vanity” is what she says to steer her husband away from what she calls “ostentatious erudition.”

“Casting,” she might have told the producers of this new seven-part HBO mini-series, which begins on Sunday evening with a double episode.

John Adams is the weakest part of “John Adams.”

Based on David McCullough’s biography of Adams, the second president, “John Adams” is certainly worthy and beautifully made, and it has many masterly touches at the edges, especially Laura Linney as Abigail. But Paul Giamatti is the wrong choice for the hero.

It’s not his fault. Mr. Giamatti, who starred in “Sideways,” is a gifted actor. Still, in this historical drama, Mr. Giamatti is a prisoner of a limited range and rubbery, cuddly looks — in 18th-century britches and wigs, he looks like Shrek.

And that leaves the mini-series with a gaping hole at its center.

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Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2008

What a banal analysis!

It could only have come from the pen of a person of the male persuasion who bases everything on one's physical appearance!