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The Manhattan Beach Project

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  85 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Falling on hard times in the years after winning an Academy Award, Charlie Berns meets a mysterious former CIA agent at a Debtors Anonymous meeting and sells an idea for an extreme reality television series about an Uzbek warlord, with unexpected consequences. By the author of 'The Deal'.
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2005)
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Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book was a gift and it is the first novel I have read by Peter Lefcourt. It is a quick, fun read that pans the entertainment industry, foreign affairs and the short term public memory.

Charlie, a has-been Hollywood producer just four years out from winning an Oscar, is now in debt and living in his nephews pool house when he is approached by a stranger and offered an opportunity to produce a reality show. Charlie connects with a hush-hush division of a tv network and secures enough funds, i
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlie is a washed out Hollywood producer sinking into debt with no way out. Then a mysterious man shows up at his Debtor's Anonymous meeting with an offer he can't refuse. Soon Charlie is deeply mired in a reality show about an Uzbek warlord, madly dodging bullets and tweaking subtitles, trying to stay alive and to keep his crazy show alive. Eventually it will all fall apart, the only question is when.

Hilarious! The Manhattan Beach Project is the perfect parody of the reality show craze. Peter
Mar 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book is hilarious. A dried up Hollywood guy goes to Turkmenistan to shoot a reality TV show called "Warlord." You know, kind of like The Osbournes, only the head of the family is... a warlord. But to up the ratings, the producers start taking liberties while translating the subtitles... with possibly fatal consequences if their main character ever figures it out. Meanwhile, they have to fend off the Turkmenistan army, the CIA and the Taliban... it's crazy, but funny and clever, not just gra ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I got into this book as I was reading it. This is well written suspense and action with funny commentary on the entertainment industry. This book fails the Bechdel test. The female characters are shallow and belittled.

I was given this book at the library in the "blind date with a book" program. I probably won't read any more Lefcourt, but I will totally let the library set me up again sometime!
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
This story continues where the character and the plot of The Deal: A Novel of Hollywood left off.

I really wonder whether Sacha Baron Cohen read this book before he wrote his movie Borat. The plots aren't similar but the places and characters are similarly satirized.
Aug 20, 2007 rated it liked it
A fun little read and just what I needed after the heavy non-fiction I had just finished. No National Book awards here, but a crazy story and a few laugh out loud moments.
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: airplane riders, satire lovers
This is a very funny, rapidly paced, well written satire much like a Carl Hiasson novel but with more likable characters.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
this could have been easily 100 pages shorter if everything was not repeated 50 times. the writing could almost be ok, but it wasn't.
Sep 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Laugh out loud funny.
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. It was a nice send-up of the television industry and reality TV.
Jan 08, 2010 is currently reading it
cheap but fun- reminds me of the book from which the movie "wag the dog" was made
Sharon Glassman
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
ragingly, scathingly funny. an afternoon of bliss with a cup of tea and a TV guide to remember you while it's satirical, this portrait of LA and TV is far from fictional...
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. We lived in Tashkent Uzbekistan and could totally relate to some of the scenes.
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Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are "Cagney and Lacey," for which he won an Emmy Award; "Monte Carlo," in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental "Danielle Steel's Fine Things," and the underrated and hurried ...more
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