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The cool costumes of this escape-artist tale can't cover up an aimless narrative filled with Dewey Cox-worthy biopic tropes. As long-suffering wife Bess, House of Cards' Kristen Connolly steals the show, while star Adrien Brody is left with cheese-noir narration. (''The one thing I can’t seem to escape from...is me.'') The second half (Tuesday, 9 p.m.) finds Houdini working as a spy, meeting the kaiser, and jumping over London rooftops to infiltrate the German embassy...only to get trapped in a safe...on his wedding anniversary! History? Possibly. Trash? Definitely. Fun? Pretty. B
Making a movie about both real people and the fake characters they played can be tricky—just ask Dylan Everett. For his roles as the actual Mark-Paul Gosselaar and the fictional Zack Morris, Everett had a lot of research to do because, believe it or not, he had never even seen the original series before. (Give him a break—he's Canadian.) ''It was always one of those shows people compared things to, so I was aware of it,'' the actor says. So how did he manage to balance playing both characters? He didn't. ''I really wanted to show Mark-Paul struggling with his identity.''