‘My Dinner With Hervé’ Review: Peter Dinklage’s Bland HBO Biopic Never Justifies Breaking Bread With Two Bad Men

IndieWire | 10/20/2018 | Staff
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Hervé Villechaize, the artist best known for playing Nick Nack in “The Man With the Golden Gun” and Tattoo on the TV show “Fantasy Island,” may have been a decent man. With just a rudimentary bit of research, one can see that Villechaize worked extensively with troubled children, helping abuse victims cope with tragedy and speaking with depressed teenagers about suicide. Certainly as a performer, the famous dwarf knew how to entertain the masses, even going so far as to play Oscar the Grouch on “Sesame Street.”

To its credit, “My Dinner With Hervé” doesn’t embellish these details to create an overly rosy interpretation of a troubled man. But to its pressing detriment, the new HBO biopic downplays any empathetic characteristics whatsoever, to the point where viewers may wonder why this actor was notable at all. Sure, he was famous for a spell, but in a movie that damns celebrity as much as it glorifies it, his notoriety can’t be the only reason to watch.

Sacha - Gervasi - Film - Question - Story

Sacha Gervasi’s film never reconciles that question. A messy story forced to fit inside a familiar biopic template, Gervasi and Dinklage’s long-in-the-works passion project doesn’t connect the dots between action and consequence. People do bad things and don’t learn from them, or they do learn, but it’s unclear how. Instead of coherence, let alone fun, the film offers up a few spot-on recreations of Villechaize’s most famous scenes (and co-stars) while aimlessly telling two stories connected by one fateful dinner.

Peter Dinklage and Andy Garcia in “My Dinner with Herve”

Drinking - Job - Editor - Shot - Redemption

His drinking also nearly costs him his job, but his ball-busting editor gives him one final shot at redemption: Get on a plane to Los Angeles and interview Gore Vidal. His titular dinner with Hervé is an afterthought — a fun “where they are now” piece timed to the...
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