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TV Review: HBO’s ‘The Brink’

Starring Jack Black, Tim Robbins and Pablo Schreiber, HBO’s The Brink follows the Secretary of State, a foreign service officer and a Navy fighter pilot as they attempt to prevent World War Three. The comedy premieres June 21 at 10:30 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“Granted, it does take some guts to produce a comedy where World War III is a distinct possibility, and the provocative premise — operating not so far outside the realm of possibility — won’t do anything to hurt HBO’s street cred in the Washington bastions the network cultivates. That said, the channel owes its image to putting on smart shows, and while The Brink delivers moments that fit that description, too much of the time, it’s best defined just as being loud.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

The Brink is a little too stale and disorganized to act as the Veep of foreign diplomacy, but it does provoke a chuckle here and there. Black sets the pace with his shopworn shtick, while Robbins clearly enjoys another chance to play a comically egomaniacal government official.”
—Hank Stuever, Washington Post

The Brink aims to poke fun at world diplomacy by insisting that almost everyone at the highest levels of power is a fool focused on his or her basest desires. In the right hands, it could be as provocative as the Kubrick film it emulates. But as it stands, it barely would pass muster as a back-half sketch on SNL.”
—Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter

“The show may err toward silliness, but the cast is uniformly good, and every so often a wry jab at American parochialism or some funny throwaway line will catch you by happy surprise. And while it's cynical at times, it isn't bleak.”
—Roberto Bianco, USA Today

“There’s smart plotting at work, and keen observational skills when it comes to showing who’s truly in power, but it takes a squishy stance on the issues at hand, a ‘nuclear warfare bad’ perspective that makes for agreeable comedy but ineffectual satire.”
—Erik Adams, A.V. Club