Pepper Dennis Reviews


Hollywood Reporter

In the pilot, the beautiful lead has a one-night stand with a charming guy only to be shocked the next morning when she learns he has authority over her at work. It happened on "Grey's Anatomy" last year, and now it's happening again on WB Network's "Pepper Dennis." Maybe this sort of thing is more common than anyone suspects.

"Pepper Dennis" stars former supermodel Rebecca Romijn as a Chicago TV reporter who is ambitious and romantic, with both sides fighting each other to a draw. She cherishes a picture of herself with Walter Cronkite, taken when she was a girl, even though she practices a type of "gotcha" journalism that would give Cronkite hives. At the same time, she's hung up on the new news anchor, Charlie Babcock (Josh Hopkins), to the point where she spends as much time conjecturing about the propriety of workplace romance than getting any work done.

There is something to be said for the idea of creating a series about a spunky TV reporter simultaneously fighting her heart and deadlines to deliver a sizzling story that likely won't even be remembered the next morning. Romijn, however, is miscast in the role. Especially in the world of TV, it's hard to imagine someone with her stunning looks and ambition having to struggle so hard, whether it's to get the story or to get the guy. Romijn plunges into scenes of messy physical comedy, but who's she kidding? News starlets don't get dragged by limos until they fall face first into mud puddles. That kind of thing is strictly for the producers.

In the pilot-premiere, Pepper's sister Kathy (fellow magazine cover girl Brooke Burns) leaves her wealthy but indifferent husband and pampered lifestyle to move in unannounced with Pepper. By the third commercial break, Kathy has a job as the TV station receptionist. Other cast members include Kimmy Kim (Lindsay Price), Pepper's makeup artist and confidante; Blanca Martinez (Alexandra Barreto), the weather girl and rival for Charlie; and Chick (Rider Strong), the geeky cameraman with a crush on Pepper. For the most part, they are as thinly drawn as the billboards around town touting the new news anchor.

The direction by Shawn Levy is sharp, and the production design is convincing. You can even overlook that the script from Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts presents local TV newsgathering as a carnival sideshow in which the only story worth pursuing is the kind that comes with dramatic video and breathless reporting. Too often, that's perilously close to the truth. Still, at some point you'd like to see a lead who does more than pingpong between stories that are hiccups in the daily routine of office flirtation. For someone named Pepper, this character is awfully bland.

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Palm Beach Post

Rebecca Romijn is tall. And beautiful. And blond. And smart. And funny. And sexy. Did I say beautiful? With those kinds of credentials on her résumé, Romijn could easily make it big as a supermodel. Oh, that's right, she did that already. My bad. I've seen her Sports Illustrated and Victoria's Secret spreads more times than I care to remember. Don't ask.
Well, perhaps Romijn should pursue a career on the big screen. Hold on. She did that, too. How could I forget those entertaining X-Men movies in which Romijn was covered in blue body paint and scales and still managed to be insanely hot? So, what's left? Starring in her own TV show, of course.

After all, Romijn, twice named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," is no stranger to the small screen. She actually made her TV acting debut as David Schwimmer's slob girlfriend on Friends. And Romijn was game to poke fun of her image by playing a dumb supermodel who married David Spade's hound-dog Dennis Finch character on NBC's Just Shoot Me.

But there's nothing dumb about the woman Romijn plays in Pepper Dennis, The WB's new one-hour dramedy. Romijn is Pepper, an ambitious local TV news reporter who worships Walter Cronkite (she kisses his picture in the morning) and who will stop at nothing to chase down a story. And that includes throwing newspapers at camera-shy interview subjects who are operating day care centers without a permit.

You could say Pepper is the millennium's version of Mary Richards and Three's Company's Jack Tripper. She's driven by her career and a burning desire to succeed. She's not obsessed with getting married, but doesn't mind a steamy one-night stand every now and again after a hard day's work. On second thought, I could be wrong, but I don't remember Mary downing a few cold ones in some bar and then hooking up with some out-of-town guy she had just met. Still, Mary and Pepper have a lot in common.

Pepper is a rising star at WEIE in Chicago. She's a fearless reporter who barks lines like, "Here's the deal." "You lock on her and take your shot!" and "We're not losing this." But Pepper is also a Jack Tripper-like klutz. She falls into dirty potholes. She trips over tables. She runs into glass doors. It's amazing Pepper manages to stay so gorgeous despite falling down every 15 seconds. She should write a book about her makeup secrets.

Pepper's professional — and personal — lives are turned upside down after the station hires a hunky new anchor (Josh Hopkins) to be its lead anchor — a gig Pepper desperately wanted. While Pepper wants to hate the new guy she calls "a mildly attractive TelePrompTer reader," it's a bit hard since he's way more attractive that Pepper is willing to admit and because, well, he was the out-of-town guy Pepper had her steamy one-night stand with before she knew who he was.

On the home front, life is just as complicated. Pepper's needy sister (North Shore's Brooke Burns) moves in with her after separating from her cheating husband. Pepper Dennis, though hardly original, is a breath of fresh air. Romijn shines as a woman balancing her career and her personal life. The former supermodel is one of those rare beautiful actresses who know how to be funny and don't mind looking silly doing it. Remember, Romijn is the same woman who played a bearded lady in the movie Dirty Work, starring Saturday Night Live alum Norm MacDonald. This just in Pepper Dennis looks like a winner.

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