Tate Donovan is probably most known for his role as Paul Matthews in “Love Potion No. 9” (Dale Launer, 1992). You may recall seeing his face in various other films, whose titles may escape your memory. In addition to those odds-and-ends, he also provided the voice of Hercules in Disney’s 1997 animated feature film (he lent his voice in four subsequent “Hercules” projects). Donovan’s current role is in the Fox TV show “The O.C.,” where he plays the father of Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). In Misti L. Barnes’ film “Exposed,” Donovan plays Bob Smith, an investigative journalist for a show called Probe, “a corporate-funded, bloody carnival for the masses” that gives you “the news you want.” Shows like Dateline NBC, Inside Edition, and sometimes E! True Hollywood Story provide viewers a behind-the-scenes look at celebrities and newsworthy stories. But what goes on behind the making of these shows? As Bob Smith reveals in his latest Probe segment, a range of very little to quite a lot can happen.
In “Exposed,” three women are up for a major broadcasting award. Jade Blake (Gia Carides), Susan Andrews (Brenda Strong), and Laura Silvera (Lumi Cavazos) are the three contenders. Certain that there are scandalous gems hidden in their personal lives, Bob does some researching and interviewing. There are two camera perspectives, the one making “Exposed” and the one making a segment of Probe. The point-of-views alternate as they capture what each woman is like on and off the record. Susan Andrews, host of a Martha Stewart-esque show called Grand Living, is losing harmony in her home. British import Jade Blake hosts her own show, the Blake Report (think Connie Cheung and Barbara Walters), and her real past doesn’t quite match her official profile. Laura Silvera is the first Latina to be the co-host of a nationally broadcasted morning show but she doesn’t seem to have complete control over her life.
Barnes’s film is aptly named as it gives you a glimpse of what it’s probably like to produce an investigative journalism story. Bob eventually gets some very juicy details relating to the three women in the media industry, but what he depicts to be the brutal truth isn’t the truth at all. Donovan’s Bob Smith is unassuming and doesn’t lose touch with his humanity. He may be searching for other people’s dirt, but he never gives you the feeling that he’s cold-hearted.