Sure, their film reviews are hated by geeks. Yes, they
follow trends incessantly. And yes, music coverage is generally an
afterthought. But it’s surely the most fun weekly read out there, and
they have television on lock. Plus, they’ll surprise with every now and
then with a great piece on overlooked entertainment industry plebs like
personal assistants and bodyguards. When it’s on, it’s an incredible
value. When it’s not…wait a week.

This issue’s strong points:

  • Though it’s not quite as funny as some of their other riffy, off-the-cuff interviews for the film, Brad and George give an entertaining interview that doesn’t bother taken the film or the promotion of it seriously for a moment.
  • This is about as interesting a Maroon 5 interview as you will get. I’d really like to see Adam Levine and Jason Kay of Jamiroquai in the same place at the same time. Not because I believe they’re the same person, but because I’m a mark for white guys who sound like Stevie Wonder.
  • Nice little upfront pieces on the GOP fundraising in Hollywood (by naming names here, I think they’re ending careers. Well, some of these GOP-donating "celebs" beat ‘em to it, but still…) and Kyra Sedgwick.

This issue’s weak points:

  • The Sopranos send-off with the 10 favorite episodes seems perfunctory and the 10 episodes are the 10 everybody talks about (e.g. Pine Barrens, When Pussy got whacked, the explosive Tony/Carmela argument). Not much value here.
  • The Price is Right is indeed an institution, but the roundtable remembrance piece here is blah.

Overall, it’s a good, if easily-breezed over ish.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

2. – JUNE/JULY 2007

Much like Complex or Interview, this mag aspires to be all things pop culture. It’s big on pictures, and, occasionally, you’ll get some decent reading from it.

This issue’s strong points:

  • A wee bit late on Robin Thicke, but it’s a good piece. Still, I’m not as convinced as everyone else that he’s the next big thing because he’s the rare artist selling albums these days. After all, he had a huge adult contemporary (one of the few genres where people still like buying CDs) hit single and was featured on Oprah. Let’s see if he’s got more than just that one song and a hot wife going for him.
  • If you’re into "urban" culture, this – along with Complex – is a good place to step up your shoe/apparel game up.
  • Kelly Rowland…looking kinda hot these days. Plus, she rocks fake hair much better than Beyonce and her unstoppable bunching wig glue.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Rihanna’s pictorials always try too hard. Not to be crass, but it’s clear she’s just playing the Lolita role as opposed to someone like, say, Evan Rachel Wood, who really does want to tempt and fuck older guys. So these tarted-up spreads with Rihanna and her gigantic forehead (now covered with Bangs!) ring so very false. Also, as an interview? Zzzzzzzzzz.
  • R. Kelly needs to get a grip. I’m so tired of celebrities dismissing any detractor as a "hater." Robert, some people do actually "hate" grown men peeing on adolescents. They’re called normal people.

This isn’t a content magazine, and they let you know that upfront. But while the pictures and layouts are as vibrant as ever, they’re capable of better issues than this, and it certainly ain’t enough to sustain two months.

Overall: 6.0 out of 10