When Killing Is Boring (television Thoughts: Why Women Kill, CBS All Access)

MV5BYTdmZTZmOTQtNTE4MC00NGFhLWJkNjQtNjE3Y2EzMGE1NjMzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzI1NzMxNzM@._V1_UY1200_CR91,0,630,1200_AL_I wanted to check out ‘Why Women Kill’ on CBS All Access because on paper, it sounded like something I would enjoy. It was conceived by Marc Cherry, who created ‘Desperate Housewives.’   I share with Cherry a love of the Great American Songbook, and I know he is a fan of my beloved Ann Hampton Callaway. And the series (literally) started great for me, with the titles scored by Michael Feinstein’s version of “L.O.V.E”

The first episode is titled ‘Murder Means Never Having To Say I’m Sorry,’ and I don’t know what that really means.  The premise of the show is three tiers: there generations of stories of women who are living at the same house. The first part is set in 1960s, with Ginnifer Goodwin playing Beth Ann, a housewife whose husband is having an affair with a waitress. The second part is set in the big shoulder pad 1980s, with Lucy Liu playing Simone, who discovers her husband is having a gay affair. The third part is set on present day, with Kirby Howell-Baptiste in an open relationship marriage. It’s all so ‘trying-to-be-decadent’ but at the same time feels so familiar. I couldn’t see anything new or interesting in it that’s enough to make me go back. It’s very reminiscent of ‘Desperate Housewives,’ which also bored me. I think this soapy murder genre is just not for me. Among the actresses, only Goodwin is effective, and you can see her character’s arc already. Liu is a major disappointment – she is given lines but she doesn’t really deliver them well, as if she is bored or needs to invest more energy in her performance. is she normally this bad? As for Howell-Baptiste, she isn’t given much yet, so she just lays there like dead wood. With so much content out there, I don’t know if continuing to watch this will have any value for me.

The Setting Is.. (Movie Thoughts: Set It Up, Netflix)

siupI have been reading all these articles saying that ‘Set It Up,’ the new Netflix movie, is so good that it could provide a new boom for rom-coms. The romantic comedy genre has been taking a beating of late, replaced by all those Apatow-type of romantic films. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a big romantic comedy softie, and if this movie will be responsible for a new wave of films, then I will gladly hop on the boat.

‘Set It Up,’ directed by Claire Scanlon, is pretty good. For someone like me craving for romance in movies, it satisfies. It’s story is not without bumps – you don’t really believe everything that’s going on – but you kind of go along, and the ride is nice and pleasant. This is mainly because of a great performance by Zoey Deutch. At first, I was wracking my brain of an actress who she reminds me of, but then found out that she is the daughter of Lea Thompson, so bingo! In any event, Deutch is a lot of things all at once: funny, vulnerable, manic – whatever the role and situation calls for. She is the next big thing and I won’t be mad if she becomes the new face of the new wave of rom-com. Glen Powell has a little more subtle presence – you wish he was more something, but maybe this is only because Deutch is such a major presence everyone is dwarfed. They have okay chemistry but this is all pretty chaste – nothing too Apatow in here. Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu, as their bosses, are more or less caricatures, but they are good enough actors that they humanize these cardboards. I don’t know if ‘Set It Up’ would make my favorite romantic movies of all time, but it will probably be one of my favorites this year.