IN the book of Hollywood cliches the "white saviour" narrative, for better or worse, has been a constant.
Films like To Kill A Mockingbird and Dangerous Minds are examples of white people helping a downtrodden African-American character. At least Rebecca Addelman, writer of dark comedy series Guilty Party, has the presence of mind to mock her own use of the overused cliche.
Guilty Party stars Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbour, Underworld) as Beth, a disgraced newspaper journalist who was fired for fabricating quotes for an award-winning story, an allegation she denies.
This forces a bitter Beth to take a job working for a gossip magazine that's more interested in doing stories on "who's hot now from the cast of Harry Potter" rather than serious journalistic investigations.
Meanwhile, Beth's husband Marco is pressuring her to have a baby and move to the country.
When Beth is contacted by Toni - a African-American woman sentenced to life in prison for murdering her husband and claims she's innocent - she's reinvigorated.
"It's sounds a bit white savioury," Beth's passive aggressive editor says, with a large dose of irony.
While fighting to clear an innocent woman's name is a noble cause, Beth is entirely motivated by her desire to use the story to resurrect her tarnished career.
Beckinsale plays Beth like an egoistical and selfish version of Bridget Jones, bumbling her way through a murky underworld of gun dealers and brothel owners as she breaks every rule in a journalist's code of ethics.
Given Beth's clean-cut TV anchor looks and middle-class naivety, the plot pushes the realms of believability.
However, Guilty Party doesn't take itself too seriously and the blending of humour and drama generally works thanks to Beckinsale's comedic timing.
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