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Groundlings’ Latest Offers Hits, Misses

Along with some flashes of creative wit, there are a lot of disconcerting moments in the Groundlings’ newest evening of satire, “Days of Wine and Groundlings.”

Jennifer Coolidge’s pieces “Qualified” and “The Masseuse” rely upon either ridiculous situations (a bimbo hired to be company vice president by a group of lecherous suits who are in for a surprise) or hitting the audience discomfort zone (an ugly, sexually desperate Russian masseuse paws at her male customer). One skit makes fun of a karate black belt (Mike Lobrete) eager to show his questionable skills to his friend (Roy Jenkins).

Better offerings include a creatively squirming lawyer (Jim Jackman) putting a better spin on questionable occurrences at the company softball game, and a waiter (Michael McDonald) who seems to be the perfect guy for two lusty single professional women (Chase Winton and Mary Jo Smith). McDonald is hideously slick as the slimy, Faustian landlord in the funny but oddly timed musical parody “Rent Control.”

Under Deanna Oliver, the characterizations, physical comedy and timing are polished, though some improvs are better than others. The writing, however, needs some work.

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* “Days of Wine and Groundlings,” Groundling Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Indefinitely. $17.50. (213) 934-9700. Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.


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