The original soundtrack to George Clooney's visually dazzling directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind -- the maybe-not-so-true story of Chuck Barris' stint as a CIA agent while he created such presciently tacky shows as The Dating Game and The Gong Show -- almost matches the film with its mix of fun, flash, and historical (in)accuracy. Along with excerpts from Alex Wurman's score, the album focuses on pop from the late '50s and early to mid-'60s, when Barris' dual careers were in ascendancy. Fittingly enough, the soundtrack kicks off with Barris' foray into pop songwriting, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon's slightly campy love-at-the-fairgrounds hit "Palisades Park." From there, an overtly ironic tone dominates most of the album, coming from both kitschy tracks like Esquivel's "Mucha Muchacha," Nico Fidenco's "Super Colpo a 7 Milardi," and Yma Sumac's "Gopher Mambo," as well as from recontextualized songs like Peter, Paul & Mary's ultra-earnest "If I Had a Hammer" and Rosemary Clooney's jazzy vamp on "There's No Business Like Show Business." Though the soundtrack stumbles a bit with the inclusion of an inferior re-recording of Donovan's acid bubblegum hit "Sunshine Superman," for the most part its pop selections are savvy as well as sassy. The excerpts of Alex Wurman's dark, jazzy, piano-driven score add another dimension to the soundtrack; though they're somewhat out of place among the glib pop of the rest of the album, they do emphasize the duality of the movie and its subject. While Peas' "Game Show (Confessions Mix)" -- a big beat remix of the themes from Barris' hit shows and dialogue from the film -- is a somewhat anticlimactic end to the album, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is lively and enjoyable enough to be appreciated outside of the film's context.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares