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Movie Review: "Confessions of A Dangerous Mind"

This is based on the autobiography of Chuck Barris, creator of "The Dating Game", "The Newlywed Game", "The Gong Show", among others. In it, he not only tells how he created these shows, but claims to have been a CIA operative and killed 33 people in its service. The CIA, for its part, says this is ridiculous, and it never happened, but it does make for an entertaining film.

The film goes back and forth between showing Barris' child- and young adult- hood, as a young man obsessed with having sex, which apparently pushed him toward creating "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game". There's a hilarious scene staged for "The Dating Game", using well-known actors, which I won't spoil here.

George Clooney directed this film, his first as a director, and spins it around wildly at times, with weird color schemes and transitions, but in the context of the subject matter, they all work. Clooney also appears in the film as Barris' CIA contact, played in almost a caricature, a low-key cloak-and-dagger guy, the stereotype we all thought of when we thought of 1960's era spies (though most of them probably didn't sport a mustache as Clooney does here!).

Sam Rockwell, in his first leading role, does a terrific job as Barris; there are times when his mannerisms are so much like the real Barris (the "Gong Show" scenes) it's frightening. Drew Barrymore, who has turned both her life and career around, does a wonderful job as Penny, the girl who stands by Barris no matter what.

Lots of fun in this film; well worth seeing.

AYRating: 3.5 stars