Monday, May 15, 2017

Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie Review

Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie (2017)
Watch Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie on Netflix
Written by: Andrea Seigel, Jeff Garlin
Directed by: Jeff Garlin
Starring: Jeff Garli, Natasha Lyonn, Kaley Cuoco, Amy Sedaris, Leah Remini, Christine Woods, Steven Weber
Rated: TV-MA

This Columbo style mystery-comedy features L.A. homicide detective Gene Handsome. He tries to make sense of his life and solve crime, except he's only good at one.

This is a solid idea poorly executed. It's a television episode stretched to feature length, with humor occurring too infrequently. It's an understated comedy, and if the humor could be maintained and sustained throughout this could be very good. The jokes that land are great.
By revealing the killer in the very first scene, the movie seemed poised for a fake out or crazy reveal later, but nothing is done with that. There are a lot of seeds I expected to pay off that didn't. It's a good foundation that needs to be just a bit more absurd.
It depends.

In the very first scene Steven Weber tells us he's the murderer and invites us to watch. By the end of the movie this scene is rendered pointless. Is the fact the movie spoils us the joke? I anticipated a crazy conspiracy that would cause us to doubt Weber's claim, but that doesn't play out. It's a throwaway scene that serves no point.

While this possesses an understated cleverness, there's not enough of it. This has an extended San Andreas movie joke, claiming the off the charts absurdity of the movie makes it great. Handsome should have taken that same advice. That or it should have cut the run time in half.
The difference between cream and lotion is referenced a few times. Lotion is water based, cream is oil based and a little dab will do you. This could have been a joke that served as a foundation for a really big joke later, but nothing happens. It's referenced a few times, and while cream and lotion plays a role in identifying the killer, we already know who the killer is. Making jokes about cream and lotion after you've watched the movie will be funnier than anything actually in the movie.

When Handsome investigates the murder, the way characters describe the victim, a baby sitter, seemed  strange. They talk about how she got into bar fights over disparaging girls for hair highlights. Was this movie going to parody the detective going into some underground culture? It seemed like it, but the answers is no.

This doesn't go anywhere. It sets up a mystery, but I wanted this to go over the top and spin it into some illogically linked chain of characters. We get hints of that with the babysitter dating her client's ex, but again this is another plot line that isn't used. Handsome gets an awkward pseudo date with the babysitter's client, and while it's there to build the character it just isn't interesting.

This has all the parts to make this a zany yet clever and funny movie. It feels like someone toned it down to be more boring. It's a great rough draft that could serve as the bases for a really good mystery-comedy.

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