Katie Holmes' "Dead Accounts" opens on Broadway

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Actors Josh Hamilton, Katie Holmes and Norbert Leo Butz take their curtain call during the "Dead Accounts" Broadway opening night at the Music Box Theatre on November 29, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images) Andrew H. Walker

"Dead Accounts," the Broadway play starring movie actress Katie Holmes, had its official opening on Thursday night in New York.

The dark comedy, written by "Smash" creator Teresa Rybeck, stars Norbert Leo Butz as a wealthy man who returns home to his family in Cincinnati, and Holmes as the man's skeptical sister.

Critics' reviews for the play, which opened in previews earlier this month, are now coming in. Many reviewers praised the actors' performances, but were not kind to the play itself.

Here's what some of them had to say:

The Los Angeles Times' Charles McNulty wrote of Holmes, "She's charming, natural and, yes, about as fresh-faced as a moisturizer model. But there's only so much that can be done with a Rebeck play that has more topical urgency (greed, ethics and banking funny business) than dramatic finesse."

Ben Brantley of The New York Times said the play's weighty subjects "blur into a single jet stream of semisnappy dialogue before changing course a few times and evaporating." He added, "Let me assure you that Ms. Holmes, who was a tad unsteady in her Broadway debut four years ago in Arthur Miller's 'All My Sons,' appears much more at ease playing a worn-down country mouse to the hyped-up city mouse of Mr. Butz."

"[Holmes] brings a lovely naturalness to her first starring Broadway role, along with frazzled warmth and judicious glimmers of a more brittle edge," said David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter. He said the play had "lively dialogue, well-drawn characters and a smattering of smart observations about contemporary life" but "never acquires thematic coherence."

"Nothing ever gets cooking in 'Dead Accounts,' because Rebeck is far more interested in executing a simple, schematic plan for gentle amusement than in plumbing the depths she hints at," New York Magazine's Scott Brown said, adding, "Holmes is insanely miscast but sunnily game in the role of a ground-down never-was with body image issues and a crater where her confidence should be."

Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press wrote, "In 'Dead Accounts,' Holmes plays an 'old but pretty' woman who 'seems like a loser' and lives at home with her parents. She only flashes her beauty once, freeing her hair and looking seductive -- enough to remind you what a head-turner she can be. It's a brave move for the 33-year-old, who deserves credit for trying hard. But she mostly tries hard to keep up with stage veterans Norbert Leo Butz and Jayne Houdyshell in Rebeck's oddly thin new play."

Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News said, "Unfortunately, Holmes' efforts add up to zilch. The stillborn comedy she's in is so stupefyingly unfocused that it plays like a draft, not a finished work."

Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal said Holmes was a "pleasant surprise" and is "unafraid to be unglamorous." Of the play, he added, "For all its manifest flaws, Ms. Rebeck's new play is seldom predictable and never boring, and her cast, led by Norbert Leo Butz, glitters like sapphires on black velvet. If it's perfection you want, go elsewhere, but you'll miss out on an exceedingly interesting night at the theater."

  • Jessica Derschowitz

Comments