TV Movie Review

TV Movie Review: 7 DAYS IN HELL (2015): Orderly, Methodical Tennis is a Myth [HBO]

Andy Samberg 7 Days In Hell

7 Days In Hell (2015TV Movie Review, an HBO film directed by Jake Szymanski, starring Andy Samberg, Kit Harington, Serena Williams, Fred Armisen, David Copperfield, John McEnroe, Will Forte, Howie MandelSoledad O’Brien, Michael Sheen, and Lena Dunham in a sports concept style mockumentary written by Murray Miller of HBO’s Girls.

The days of orderly and methodical tennis are but a myth as we descend into the seven levels of Hades; one for each day of the epic longest match ever in pro tennis. The net divides Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg) and Charles Poole (Kit Harington) at the 2001 Wimbledon men’s game. It’s not about the rules but who makes them in 7 Days In Hell, a lubricious feat, to debut on HBO the weekend the actual 2015 Wimbledon matches are played. That was this weekend in case you missed it.

The games were not on HBO.

PCP,  an animated male orgy, ballsacks, mullets, streakers, high five cunnilingus, narcissistic sports parenting, a Swedish prison break, pretending not to be doing coke off the lines of the court, and accidental murder are just a smidgen of the leads and punches thrown into the wonderfully hilarious spoof kettle simmered up in 42 minutes directed by the fairly inexperienced Jake Szymanski.

So, before cocaine was illegal…

Poole, densely flummoxed but “indubitably” a child prodigy, not really, and Williams, making the greatest comeback in sports history as the adopted brother of Serena and Venus Williams’ father, compete after Aaron again, makes the world’s greatest comeback in sports history. I just said that twice over for emphasis.


Aaron is the bad boy of pro tennis who shoves the Duke of Kent (Howie Mandel) when his world record speed serve isn’t received so well by the audience or the guy who got hit by the ball. He is heaved into a downward career spiral and then an unrelated secondary downward career spiral, returns to the game with “F**k Tennis 4 Ever” tatted across his navel in a physically unfit bout of jealousy over Poole having answered a question in a TV interview precisely the way he should have answered it while managing to evade any thought at all costs.

Cameos by Serena Williams, John McEnroe, David Copperfield among others as themselves shape the personal historical narrative back story for Aaron Williams with believable and hilarious apathy towards him (and tennis), his competitiveness, his life, and whether or not he dies.

Lanny Denver, former president of Jordache who was fired after styling Williams’ comeback white denim tennis outfit is played by Lena Dunham of “Girls”. She explains Aaron’s attitude and enthusiasm which she intimately identifies with through her personal design choices. One can only imagine that Aaron is sporting his own line of men’s briefs under those shorts.


The comedic beats of sports casting and sports interviews get the kind of revamp in 7 Days in Hell that might actually lure real fans to the televised event if only the talking heads could pull this parody off instead. It would be breathing new life into one of the most boring sports to watch on broadcast TV.

“It would have been incredibly sad, incredibly tragic if these were football players or basketball players, but these are tennis players. Who cares?” – direct quote from a tennis historian.

Thanks, 7 Days In Hell. Later, Tennis.

Rating: 8/10

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About the author

Stephanie King

I am a meticulous writer. Story is my strong suit.

I do not waste time on political "critique" or paranoid "undertones" that might have been an inspiration to a story writer, but clearly are not a main or secondary theme.

I can identify high concept, main and sub theme(s), protagonists and antagonists, secondary character roles, the turning point, the key, the antagonist's story thrust, the spine, twelve sequences, the climax, the resolution, and most importantly, the goal of any film. I am aware of the act structure which can be from three to five acts, generally.

Aristotle elaborates in his Poetics on Plato's Republic on act structure.

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