Anne Hathaway put on one woman show while SNL regulars were flat

Anne Hathaway, now newly married to actor-jewelry designer Adam Shulma, wasted no time to take hold of the SNL hosting reins for the third time in her career.

In her opening monologue, the 29-year-old Emmy Award winning actress pivoted her humor off the widely publicized excessive nudity contained in her upcoming movie “Love and Other Drugs.”

Before I get into the this week SNL highlights, I must point out that Anne Hathaway practically put on a one woman’s show, while SNL regulars were flat. Nevertheless, though Hathaway went above and beyond duty, this weeks show left some things to be desired.

That said, Hathaway, who stars in the movie version of “Les Miserables” that comes out in December, found herself in the middle of a version of “One More Day.” Two things here: 1. Hathaway has a legitimately good voice that really broke through on screen. 2. She also got the best line of the song: “Oh the show I could have done, if they let me play Stefon!” The twist, was for her to reluctantly participant in the musical number, which saw the entire cast sing about their day off to the tune of “I Dreamed a Dream.” So when it was time for the actress to sing her line she raised it up a notch and nailed it. Most awesome of all may have been how unexpectedly strong Hathaway’s voice was.

Anne Hathaway reprises her Katie Holmes impression as a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, with Kate McKinnon as Ellen, Kenan Thompson as DJ Tony, and Nasim Pedrad and Vanessa Bayer as child rapper sensations Sophia Grace and Rosie.

Hathaway keeps it short, with the most notable dig coming when she says she’d invented a new disguise so the paparazzi can’t recognize her—essentially smiling in a more normal way. But the bulk of the sketch is focused on Ellen DeGeneres’ dancing, which the show mocks as gimmicky.

Hathaway also showed off her Claire Danes impression in a “Homeland” spoof, scrunching her face and experiencing a meltdown to mimic the actress’s Emmy-winning efforts. The episode was clunky because the skits were improperly arranged. A “Girlfriends talk show” spot about jealous teens would have been well-suited for the second half of the episode. But airing the ho-hum “Girlfriends talk show” early bumped an Ellen show spoof into post-Weekend Update territory, meaning many viewers missed Hathaway’s reprisal of her Katie Holmes impersonation, sideways smile and all.

True to form, Anne Hathaway went all out—singing, showcasing some strong impressions, and throwing herself into the physical comedy—in what nonetheless proved a shaky episode, surprisingly short on political material given the week’s events.

Nevertheless, Hathaway clearly gave it her all, and the show was more consistent than it has been in some previous weeks. An eager Hathaway (who appeared in every sketch) brought charm and energy to the first-episode-after-the-election proceedings.

I can see why they keep asking her back. She throws herself into every sketch with those long Gumby limbs and almost cartoonishly expressive face of hers.

Though, Hathaway brought her A-game, and turned everything they gave her into gold, overall this was not a brilliant episode. So I will conclude this review with a thumbs up on the Romney skit and Rihanna.

The Romney sketch starts off with Mitt standing on his balcony, guzzling contraband milk that he hides from his family. His plans post-election include “learning how mayonnaise is made.” Taran Killam plays multiple Romney sons, which is hilarious. (“Donald Trump is doing a very funny thing where he’s racist!”) But not as hilarious as Mitt’s response to news that Paul Ryan is doing feats of strength downstairs. “Well, I’d like to see him carry Wisconsin!” Mitt yells, in what might be the best political line of the season thus far. There’s something oddly sweet about Mitt’s final moments with Ann, even if he blames it on all the milk he drank. This feels like both a goodbye to the campaign and also to Jason Sudeikis as Romney. If all goes according to currently announced plans, Sudeikis will be leaving the show in January. So look for plenty of send-off sketches like this in the coming months.

Rihanna takes the stage…or, at least I think she takes the stage. It’s possible she’s inside The Matrix. In any case, she’s performing “Diamonds”, her newest single. I’m guessing she watched lots of late-60’s Jefferson Airplane concert footage and thought, “That looks awesome!” The production is incredibly distracting, mostly because it doesn’t seem to be related to the song itself. If the song were called “Crazy Acid Trip”, I’d get it. Oh well. If this were an upper-tier Rihanna tune, it wouldn’t matter. But the song itself is subpar, repetitive without having any melodic hooks.

Saturday Night Live wrapped election season. For some it was satisfying, but I thought the rest of the show had been written by amateurs. The only real highlight, which saved the evening were the scenes Anne Hathaway appeared in. That said, until next week.

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