Thursday, January 12, 2017

Now on Netflix: Easy (2016)

Easy (2016) - Created by Joe Swanberg; Starring Jane Adams, Zazie Beetz, Michael Chernus, Aya Cash, Dave Franco, Kiersey Clemons, Malin Akerman, Orlando Bloom, Kate Micucci, Hannibal Burress, Aislinn Derbez, Elizabeth Reaser, Jake Johnson, Marc Maron, Emily Ratajkowski.

By Kenny Howell

Joe Swanberg takes a break from making 18 movies a year, to put together this Netflix series about people trying to make it in Chicago.

The show, which spans eight half hour episodes, is pretty much like Swanberg's work as a whole. There are hits and misses, nothing is amazing, everything goes down easy (see what I did there), and they work best when he has the right collection of actors. The series is filled with talented people (see huge cast list above), and sometimes the right group just comes together and things click.

The episodes can all stand on their own, but some of them start to cross in the later episodes. The first might be the strongest as we meet a married couple played by Michael Chernus and Elizabeth Reaser (Liberal Arts) trying to get on the same page sexually. Chernus' Kyle is a stay at home husband, and a friend at a party mentions that he read a study that women are not as sexually attracted to men when they aren't the main breadwinner of the family. That gets into their heads a bit, and the couple try several times over the episode to spice things up, despite constant intrusion from kids and the rest of their lives.

From there, it is kind of a mixed bag, some working a lot better than others. You have a couple where one tries to be vegan like the other, brothers trying to start an illegal brewery, a content married couple that are thrown for a loop when an old flame comes back, a graphic novelist who is facing the decline of his career and the younger artistic generation, and a couple trying to set up a threesome. It really ends well when the stories start folding back into each other, and I kind of wish Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) would have done it sooner. Still, as it is, it's not bad, which is the way I feel about the rest of his work.

Easy is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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