An exceptional scandal cries out for exceptional storytelling. CBS' The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron is not it.
Those who make time for the movie (8-10 p.m. Sunday, Channel 11) have every reason to expect either an intense docudrama or a film with unbounded sarcasm or unfettered satire. This is neither.
Instead, we get something in between -- a mix of fact and fiction so obliquely depicted as the same that to categorize the movie as satire or docudrama takes a bit of research or an act of faith or both.
It inaccurately depicts a company filled with people thriving on greed at any cost. It shows a permissive culture that made room in its ranks for busty women who worked at gentlemen's clubs. It shows, at film's end, the women and men of Playboy and Playgirl.
As for the buxom babes, such as the movie's "Miss August," "People did joke about different nicknames for different months," Cruver says. One executive "had his hottie board, as he called it. But was every woman at Enron from a strip club? No, they definitely played that up."
Not able, for legal reasons, to use the real crooked E or its likeness, the movie makes use of an E with an extended middle bar -- a middle-finger metaphor that sums up the company's attitude and its near-term future.