Justin Timberlake's gone from ''BB4.'' Oh, wait! That was Nathan not Justin, Julie not Lucy, and Jack not Clint -- but Bruce Fretts still thinks CBS did a great job ''casting'' ''Big Brother 4''

By Bruce Fretts
August 13, 2003 at 12:00 PM EDT
Big Brother 4: Monty Brinton
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Justin Timberlake’s gone from ”BB4”

When my pal Dalton asked me to cover for him on the ”Big Brother” watch, I said sure. After all, I’d done it for him last year, and it was easy. I haven’t really been keeping up with ”BB4,” but I was pleased to see that CBS has once again put together a devastating parody of a reality show with another all-star cast.

I must confess I was shocked to see that Lucy Liu had been rehired to play host ”Julie Chen,” considering how sadly unlifelike her performance was last season. Whose butt did she have to kiss to keep this job?

The rest of the actors were newcomers, however. Nathan, the curly-haired pretty boy whose character was written out — excuse me, ”voted off” — this week was played by Justin Timberlake, doing a bad Oklahoma accent. Justin should really stick to singing. Perhaps his least believable line reading came when he insisted ”I like women!” And CBS really blew it when they failed to score his exit scene with ‘N Sync?s ”Bye, Bye, Bye.”


I did enjoy ”Designing Women” alum Jean Smart’s cameo as Nathan’s mom. Her malapropisms (”he fought for her tooth, line, and sinker”) were almost as hilarious as the unsubtle undertones about running her fingers through her son’s hair. But can someone please explain what ”I’m fixin’ to give them a pop knot” means?

Jack, the retired FBI agent who was spared from ”eviction,” was masterfully portrayed by Clint Eastwood. Some might find the age difference between Eastwood and his leading lady, Erika (Debra Messing, who appears to have gotten enormous breast implants), to be distasteful, but I felt the chemistry between them was tangible. I only wish Messing’s many crying scenes were more convincing.

For comic relief, you can’t do better than ”the Three Stooges,” a.k.a. ”the Three Amigos,” a.k.a. ”the Dream Team”: Justin (”Real World” survivor Eric Nies, who appears to have gotten an enormous brain implant), Jee (Jet Li, who should karate-chop his barber for that heinous haircut), and Robert (David Boreanaz, in full vampire makeup from ”Angel”). But I did notice one gaffe. When Angel — I mean, Robert — walked past a mirror, you could see his reflection. Also, I think it’s ridiculous to ask viewers to accept that a buxom babe like Erika would have ever gone out with such a horrifying creature as Robert.

Jee’s ex Jun was embodied by funnywoman Margaret Cho, who I’m sad to say, has really let herself go. If you watched closely, you could actually see her gain weight over the course of the live one-hour episode. And did it strike anyone else as stereotypical that the Asian woman was depicted as the ”sneaky” one?

That leaves us with Allison, and I must admit I didn’t think the Olsen Twins had it in them to play such a hateful wench. When she betrayed Nathan — described as both her ”frequent bedmate” and her ”brother” — she became the most hissable villainess since Amy Brenneman’s ”Chi-whore-a” in ”Big Brother 3.”

What do you think of the season’s ”casting” of ”Big Brother 4”?

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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  • 07/05/00
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