Friday, February 3, 2017

Now on Netflix: Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

Santa Clarita Diet (2017) - Created by Victor Fresco; Starring Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Ricardo Chavira, Richard T. Jones.

By Kenny Howell

Victor Fresco definitely has an unique voice.

His previous works Better Off Ted and Andy Richter Controls the Universe went by the beat of their own drum. With both of those shows, which were quite good, they had the right actors to pull that off.

I am not sure Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant can get to that place consistently, no matter how good they are elsewhere, especially Olyphant. There is a certain over the top zaniness, and Barrymore and Olyphant, especially in the first couple of episodes, have trouble getting there.That does change, but it takes awhile.

If you are unfamiliar with the premise of the new Netflix original show, Barrymore and Olyphant play married realtors named Sheila and Joel whose life is turned upside down when Barrymore, well, becomes a zombie. While showing a house, she throws up everywhere, including a small red thing that looks like an organ. She then murders and eats a fellow realtor, which obviously starts things going a bit crazy.

For the first two episodes, Santa Clarita Diet really wants to gross you out to make you laugh, and really it just keeps you from settling into it. It is really stomach turning at times. It is already difficult enough to get to Fresco's screwball comedy esque style, so throwing that on top of it makes the first couple of episodes a tough slog.

However, around episode six, this show gets really, really funny. Olyphant and Barrymore really get a grip on it, but the real stars to me were the two actors that play their daughter and her nerdy friend next door. Liv Hewson plays their daughter Abby, who is like a young Emma Stone, though not just because of the red hair. She can chew up a scene, and the socially awkward Skyler Gisondo, who plays Eric, pairs with her so well. They are really the only thing that is consistent from the beginning, so when things start to come together with everything else, the show really takes off.

For the first half of the season one, I wasn't even thinking about the second season, but the way it wraps up leaves me really anticipating a second go around. It has the chance to become one of the better comedies on TV, but only if it keeps the last half momentum going.

The first season of Santa Clarita Diet is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

No comments:

Post a Comment