There’s a moment about halfway through Other Desert Cities, an inexplicably over-praised Broadway mediocrity, at which it becomes clear that we are intended to take seriously the political rantings of one of the play’s characters, a washed-up, alcoholic Hollywood liberal. Until that moment, the play’s political content, which is ample, had merely provided conversational fodder to fuel the family drama at the play’s center, and the character had been a kind of affable cartoon; afterward, the politics take a starring role, which is unfortunate, because the politics are of the rigidly conventional and remorselessly stupid kind.

Other Desert Cities is the story of Brooke Wyeth (Rachel Griffiths), a young(ish) woman who wrote one well-received novel and then ceased writing after falling into the grip of a particularly fearsome case of manic depression, that notorious bane of the upper classes....


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