Lance Armstrong’s drawn out admission to doping stunned the world of competitive cycling, inspired a memorable South Park episode, and, a bit more recently, provided ample material for HBO’s new mockumentary, Tour de Pharmacy, in which the disgraced champion also appears. Five years after his Oprah confessional, Armstrong clearly hopes to show that he, too, can laugh at his notoriety, and is willing to wear a silly fur coat and cowboy hat to prove just how blasé the ordeal has left him.
A followup to 2015’s tennis mockumentary 7 Days In Hell, Tour director Jake Szymanski reteams with Andy Samberg to tell this farcical story of the 1982 Tour de France through grainy BBC film reels and nostalgic interviews with surviving competitors. As the young (and fictitious, ICYDK) Marty Hass, Samberg plays a privileged white heir to a Nigerian diamond mine who stands to become *technically* the first African to win the Tour, if his blossoming romance with a fellow cyclist doesn’t distract him from this ambition. Orlando Bloom, John Cena, Freddie Highmore, and Hamilton’s Tony Award-winner Daveed Diggs play the only other competitors who remain after all the rest are barred for performance enhancers.
The film features all the things one might expect from a premium cable title, chief among them an inexplicable sex scene and (separately) gratuitous nudity played to much comedic effect. More importantly, the comedy also features several well-regarded veterans of the silver screen as the aged versions of the competing cyclists: Jeff Goldblum, Dolph Lundgren, Julia Ormond, and Danny Glover all appear. Ormond and Goldblum in particular seem to enjoy their brief roles—it’s a pity the two couldn’t share a scene.
Though the premise might sound better suited to an even shorter skit, frequent cameos plus Jon Hamm’s narration help set the mockumentary’s quick and pleasant pace. At only 41 minutes, the Tour’s eventual winner takes the podium just in time to leave audiences wanting more, and as certain as doping in sports, this is likely a road we’ll go down again.
Watch Tour de Pharmacy on Saturday, July 8 at 10pm ET on HBO.