There’s one thing in regards to the angst of white-collar males that lends itself to magic realism. From Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and It’s a Fantastic Life to Midnight in Paris and disgruntled dad Lester Burnham recounting his personal demise from past the grave in American Magnificence, such quotidian dissatisfaction has catalyzed not less than a century’s price of fantastical odysseys. Whether or not it’s as a result of so many people establish with the urge to flee the grind by supernatural means or as a result of those that do are overrepresented in Hollywood and e-book publishing, we are able to’t appear to get sufficient of those tales. On Oct. 18, Netflix unveils one other one: the intermittently entertaining however finally hole Paul Rudd car Dwelling With Your self.
Seemingly premised on Rudd’s contradictory persona—typically solid as a “regular guy,” he’s in actual fact a good-looking, charming 50-year-old who doesn’t look a day over 30—the eight-episode collection introduces his protagonist Miles as a person in a depressing rut. His marriage has grown tense and distant. After years of saving for fertility therapies, he disappoints his spouse Kate (Aisling Bea) by repeatedly canceling sperm-analysis appointments that will revive their efforts to conceive. In the meantime, Miles is so burned out at his promoting job that when it’s time for him to current a pitch, he merely saunters to the pinnacle of the convention desk and publicizes, “I don’t have anything.” That sums up the best way he feels about his life as a complete, regardless of its many suburban comforts. He can’t even sneak into his home after an evening on the bar with out smashing right into a credenza.
Too exhausted, lazy or maybe clinically depressed (the present is generally tired of mind chemistry) to make powerful adjustments, he seizes the primary simple, if costly, choice that presents itself. Over drinks, a previously unimpressive colleague (You’re the Worst standout Desmin Borges) who’s out of the blue dominating the boardroom lets Miles in on his secret— a “highly exclusive” spa therapy that radically rejuvenates shoppers, in and out. With out consulting Kate, Miles drains the fertility financial savings, palms over $50,000 in money within the basement of a strip mall and, most disconcertingly, dons an grownup diaper in preparation for the process. Little does he know that the spa’s proprietors are getting ready to clone him, kill—er, “deactivate”—the schlumpy authentic Miles, bury him and launch his sizzling, cheerful, freshly baked double into Miles’ outdated life. The plan goes awry when a barely respiratory Miles 1.Zero wakes up underground and claws his approach out of the grave. Now, there are two of him.
The inner logic of this sci-fi state of affairs isn’t good. (A little bit of muddled commentary on American prejudices, through a pair of Asian-American spa proprietors who have an effect on damaged, accented English for his or her prospects’ profit, simply plain backfires.) To ensure that Miles 2.Zero to seamlessly combine into Miles 1.0’s life—the place he’s, inevitably, a superior husband, half-brother (to a kooky artist performed by Alia Shawkat) and worker—he should possess the entire latter’s information, reminiscences and emotional ties. But wouldn’t a clone who feels as if he’s skilled every part Miles 1.Zero has skilled additionally really feel simply as bitter and crushed down as his predecessor, even when his physique was model new? This catch-22 can be simple to miss if it not less than led the present to some attention-grabbing philosophical questions: Is the self a single consciousness confined to at least one discrete physique, for instance, or are each variations of Miles basically the identical particular person?
Creator Timothy Greenberg, a former Every day Present government producer, would slightly observe the chaos that ensues as two males try to occupy the identical life. There are slapstick components to this; the Mileses battle like brothers, and 1.0’s discomfort in his personal pores and skin manifests itself in a lot of tripping and falling. The ability steadiness shifts, with 2.Zero serving alternately as a menace to 1.Zero and a stand-in who allows 1.Zero to remain dwelling from work and pound out that screenplay he’s at all times wished to jot down. Since 2.Zero is programmed to like Kate, identical to the prototype, an uncanny love triangle ensues.
The present is sort of by no means disagreeable to observe, because of fast-paced storytelling in addition to interesting performances from Rudd and Bea (an Irish actor and comic who broke by to American audiences this yr as the author and star of Hulu’s well-received British import This Means Up). It simply looks as if a waste of a premise that would have gone a lot deeper and advanced into one thing a lot stranger. As a substitute, Greenberg teases depth and ingenuity that he by no means fairly delivers. Just like the authors of so many different surreal-male-midlife-crisis narratives, he overestimates how compelling its protagonist’s predicament is, then resolves it into a lesson in appreciating what one has. (He additionally oversimplifies the wants and needs of the girl in his life, even after devoting a full episode to her perspective.) And, as in so many different high-profile Netflix initiatives—Lifeless to Me, Maniac, The Politician—nearly each episode ends on a cliffhanger. Sadly, within the case of Dwelling With Your self, a present designed for binge viewing by no means proves binge-worthy.