Roush Review: Who’s the Real Paul T. Goldman?

Paul T. Goldman - 'Paul T. Goldman'
Review
Peacock

Paul T. Goldman

Matt's Rating: rating: 2.5 stars

Is this guy for real?

I’ve watched all but one episode of Peacock‘s Paul T. Goldman, a bizarre hybrid of reality show and making-of-movie chronicle, and I still don’t know. And I don’t know if I care.

Director Jason Woliner (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), who appears to have an affinity for eccentrics, has spent a decade working with this beyond-peculiar subject, who wrote an entire self-published book (titled Duplicity) and even a screenplay — changing his last name and, wisely, those of others — about the extraordinary events he says occurred in his formerly humdrum life as an unhappily single dad in West Palm Beach, Florida. In each version, Paul presents himself as a wronged husband who accidentally stumbles across an international crime ring. (The details, we’re told, are a spoiler. Though Paul will be the first to tell you, “This story is as accurate as it is unbelievable.”)

Paul T. Goldman and Frank Grillo in 'Paul T. Goldman'

(Credit: Evans Vestal Ward/Peacock)

 

Despite his aggressively awkward and uncomfortably smirky camera presence, Paul insists on playing himself in a cheesy movie reenactment, scripted by who else. We see him audition and engage with real actors — Mad Men’s Melinda McGraw is an awfully good sport, playing his allegedly devious second wife — while incessantly commenting on the process, even discussing delusional Emmy buzz with his indulgent co-star.

“Wow, that’s weird,” understates another actor after a take, adding, “He’s kind of like a kid.” A kid in a candy store, more like, amazed at the hullaballoo he’s created yet somehow convinced he deserves all this attention.

As his wild story of, let’s call it duplicity, spins out, Paul steps out of character, though always in character, to defend his narrative to any on-set observer who might listen. “I may have been weak, but I’m not a complete moron,” he quips, and when there’s no response, he shouts, “Do I hear objections from the choir?”

There are none.

And so it goes for multiple episodes. You may laugh, and you most certainly will cringe, at this forlorn but proud man who fancies himself the hero of his own story.

Forgetting Paul T. Goldman (by any name) is not an option, even if you want to.

Paul T. Goldman, Series Premiere (first three of six episodes, the rest available weekly), Sunday, January 1, Peacock