Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the world of competitive New York auction houses? If so, the premise of Crackle’s new show, “The Art of More” (2015 – present), may pique your interest. The series debuted its first season in late November and, taking a page from Netflix’s playbook, released all 10 episodes at once. Unfortunately, the low-energy series is not worth binge-watching in a sitting, or even watching at all. Although “The Art of More” boasts some big-name stars like Dennis Quaid and Kate Bosworth, their performances are not strong enough to compensate for the poorly executed storyline and flat dialogue. The premise is interesting enough, but, unfortunately, creator Chuck Rose is not able to capitalize on it.
Viewers are first introduced to Graham Connor (Christian Cooke), a veteran who served in Baghdad, where he was involved in smuggling ancient artifacts. He has now relocated to New York to begin a career as an account executive at the Parke-Mason auction house. Connor is secretive and somewhat mysterious, reluctant to reveal his slightly shady past as a soldier. Cooke has trouble expressing the mysterious side of Graham, and the character comes off as uninterested and tired as opposed to antisocial or closed off. Connor’s goal, revealed in the first episode, is to obtain an art collection owned by billionaire Sam Brukner (Quaid). He’s not the only one with this objective, however. Roxanna Whitman (Bosworth), who works for a rival auction house, is also gunning for Brukner’s collection. Cooke’s acting pales in comparison to that of Bosworth’s and Quaid’s, who both, surprisingly, have considerably less screen time than their less experienced colleague.
Brukner is the sleazy, rich guy archetype, who Quaid plays as well as he can with the dialogue he is given. His main concerns are money, auctions, women and talking about how great he is, all of which he makes clear every time he comes on screen. Roxanna comes across as clever, yet somewhat conniving, which will no doubt come in handy as her rivalry with Graham continues. Bosworth is also bogged down by uninspiring dialogue but manages to make the best of it.
The amount of humor in the show is surprisingly low considering how hard it is to take the premise of “The Art of More” too seriously. Sam’s over-the-top dialogue, coupled with his through-the-roof ego, is enough to evoke a few chuckles but nothing worth a full-on laugh. There are a few unintentionally awkward scenes, which are so cliché that it is nearly impossible not to laugh at them. Cringe-worthy lines throughout the show add to the overall awkwardness. In general, the biggest issue with the dialogue in “The Art of More” is not that it is cheesy or boring; rather, it is that the actors and actresses, with the exception of Quaid and Bosworth, do not commit to the material enough. Careful delivery of a poor script is infinitely better than careless delivery, and, in this show, the difference is quite obvious.
It seems that one of the goals of “The Art of More” is to take a glimpse into the lives of people who are ridiculously rich from the perspective of Connor, someone with humble beginnings and a rocky past. An interesting underlying theme, which is what keeps the show afloat, is the way that money and the uber-wealthy are portrayed. Brukner is the representation of the elite, and viewers see him being pompous and generally vile, discussing women as if they are objects and generally having no concern for anyone but himself. This commentary on wealth and power is one of the only reasons to give “The Art of More” a shot. Hopefully, the season premiere is merely a fluke, and with any luck, the show will be able to get its bearings and make a stronger appearance in future episodes.