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Excerpted from theatlantic.com:

If one were to recast The Rockford Files, as Universal Pictures is intending to do, would the Frat Pack actor Vince Vaughn seem the wisest choice to play Jim Rockford, the character James Garner inhabited with such sly intelligence and bruised suavity? Universal apparently thinks so.

One can say many things about the talents of Vaughn, and were Universal embarking on a bit of polyester parody—remaking, say, Tony Rome, among the least of the neo-noirs—Vaughn’s gift for sending up low pop would be just so. But to aim low in this case is to miss the deceptive grace that Garner brought to the original, and prompts a bigger question: Whatever happened to male charm—not just our appreciation of it, or our idea of it, but the thing itself?

I can't understand the sentences bolded above:

  1. How can a sentence start with were like that? Besides that, it's overall structure and meaning is unclear to me, like "a bit of polyester parody Vaughn's gift for...", what's that?

  2. Polyester is a kind of synthetic plastic, what is polyester parody?

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    I think the were is an example of the subjunctive. "If Universal were embarking..." can be rephrased as "Were Universal embarking..."
    – stangdon
    Feb 4 '16 at 15:12
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If you take out the accessory phrase in the middle, it should be like this:

One can say many things about the talents of Vaughn, and were Universal embarking on a bit of polyester parody, Vaughn’s gift for sending up low pop would be just so.

Simplifying:

Vaughn may have many talents, but his gift for sending up low pop would be better suited to remaking Tony Rome, among the least of the neo noirs, as a knowing parody, than to take on the role that Garner filled so well.

"Sending up low pop" is taking a simple role and filling it well. Seth Rogan is really good at this in most of his movies. They're not complicated or intelligent, they're dumb and fun.

"Polyester parody" sounds like a "low pop" copy. Polyester is a comparatively cheap and popular material for jackets, unlike the leather of before, but you can't just make a leather jacket out of polyester, you can copy some of the design, but there's going to be some changes, and you have to accept that going in. Anyway, that's my take on it, but it feels like a "had to be there" thing, and the fad they're talking about happened 20 years before I was born.

More specifically about the construction than the meaning:

and if it was the case that Universal was...

has the same meaning as "were" above.

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