Netflix review: GLOW (season 1)

Starring: Alison Brie (THE LITTLE HOURS [2017], HOW TO BE SINGLE [2016], GET HARD [2015], and the upcoming “The Room” biopic, THE DISASTER ARTIST [2017]), Betty Gilpin (a bit role in GHOST TOWN [2008], and TV show NURSE JACKIE) and Marc Maron (MIKE AND DAVE [2016]).

Central writers: Kristoffer Diaz (television debut; congrats), Emma Rathbone (television debut; congrats), and Rachel Shukert (3 episodes of SUPERGIRL [2015-2016]). Composer: Craig Wedren (HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER [2017], WANDERLUST [2012], and SCHOOL OF ROCK [2003]). Cinematographer: Christian Sprenger (BRIGSBY BEAR [2017], and TV shows ATLANTA [2016] and THE LAST MAN ON EARTH [2015- ongoing]).

(SUMMARY)

Struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) might just have found her calling when she falls into a revolutionary new sport, GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. It’s not what she was hoping for, but she soon learns to see the promise that it affords. But things get complicated when the man she’s been having sex with happens to be the husband of her best friend Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), a retired soap opera actress to focus on becoming a mother. And once Debbie learned of the betrayal, she shows up at Ruth’s gym where the auditions and training take place, and causes a scene. Turns out, GLOW’s overly direct and harsh director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), enjoyed the dramatic spectacle and manages to convince Debbie to join GLOW and regain her former glory. It also doesn’t hurt to be in a wrestling setting and near the woman that broke up her marriage.

(REVIEW)

I went in to this show with an expectation that it’d be a little too similar to ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Just a bunch of women that get together and have lesbian sex. Of course, that’s not quite what that show was, but a lot of that show’s identity is the lesbian sex. Honestly, I didn’t care for that in this show. Thankfully, that’s precisely what this show doesn’t do. The first episode is really the only one that features Brie’s tits and having a sex scene. I give the episode some credit that it does serve the story and becomes the driving force that creates the tension between characters Ruth and Debbie, which is eventually what the in-universe show “GLOW” gravitates around. Beyond that, yeah, this is finally the role that I absolutely love Brie in. I can’t say I’ve been a fan of hers, mostly because I haven’t seen all the stuff she’s known for, and everything I have seen her in, she’s the hot bimbo who’s trying to be funny, but isn’t. Her role as Ruth is actually really layered. On top of brilliantly portraying a struggling actress who is clearly talented but not given a break, she also goes through a great arch of being completely dense and unsure of what is she’s a part of when she joins GLOW, and starts adapting gloriously and even humorously. She can be annoying, but well-meaning, pushes the envelope for herself. These are the roles I’d prefer to see Brie in.

But not only her, everyone is great. Gilpin is awesome as this woman who’s trying to get back on top of her acting career, which she put aside to focus on being a mother, Maron is a lot of fun as the asshole director who just wants to make something that’s both familiar to his work, porn, and yet totally revolutionary, women’s wrestling, which wasn’t a thing until the 80’s. Some other characters also stand out. You have the hilariously apathetic, yet weirdly content Sheila the She-Wolf (Gayle Rankin), who is silent like a church mouse, but a seething “fuck you” attitude that is strangely engaging. There’s also Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel), a happily married woman who is also an aspiring actress, but takes her role in GLOW very seriously. Because Cherry is so familiar with Sam, she knows his tricks, how to navigate his attitude and methods to achieving his goals. And because she wants to be taken seriously as well, she’s just as thick-skulled and strong willed like him. There’s also Carmen Wade (Britney Young), who is the daughter of a famous wrestler and sister to a pair of up and coming wrestlers, and despite her knowledge and love of wrestling, she gets serious stage-fright. And there’s Justine Biagi (Britt Baron), who is a fan of Sam’s previous work and hangs around him a lot. The characters are pretty memorable and all work well off of each other.

The story is an interesting one as well. To be completely honest, I genuinely thought that female wresting wasn’t a legit thing, but a fetish porn thing. I guess, in retrospect, that was sort of the initial pitch and what garnered interest for the public. Sex, or in this case, sex appeal, sells. Right? But I guess this really was something that accumulated some serious popularity in its day. But I’m also wondering if female wrestling is a thing presently. I only wonder because I never see it on any sports channels. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough? Or maybe it’s a coastal thing, only popular in certain areas of the States? Or maybe it really is such an underground thing that you have to know where to look for it? In any case, it’s interesting to see this at it’s starting point and I am curious to see where it goes in future seasons.

I don’t think it’s an amazing show, but it is fun. It’s got some well-executed drama and comedy done right. Some great performances from everyone as well. But for a cast that’s so big, there are plenty that are there just to make the numbers bigger and don’t get much development, so here’s hoping that changes in season two, if it gets green-lit. There’s enough surprises to keep someone engaged, and an interesting enough story to carry my interest. I like it. Give it a watch if you’re in the mood to binge.

My honest rating for Netflix’s GLOW (season 1): 4/5

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HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER review

*Groan*

Having only seen one trailer to this movie, I can’t say that I’m excited to see it, but there was a clear mix of moments that made me laugh and moments that made me squirm. Getting bitch-slapped with a tortilla; that was kinda funny. But then turn right around with a cop threatening to beat a guy with a dildo… yup, a lot of this humor isn’t out-of-the-box. But like I said, it’s a mixed bag as of now. I haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll reserve judgment.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Eugenio Derbez (MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN [2015], THE BOOK OF LIFE [2014], PLEDGE THIS! [2006], and the upcoming… wait, seriously, SPEEDY GONZALEZ? Really? It’s due out… who knows when) and SALMA HAYEK (SAUSAGE PARTY [2016], GROWN UPS 2 [2013], CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT [2009], and the upcoming THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD [2017]). In support, we have Kristen Bell (CHIPS [2017], BAD MOMS [2016], TV show HOUSE OF LIES, and the upcoming FROZEN 2 [2019]), Rob Lowe (MONSTER TRUCKS [2017], THE INVENTION OF LYING [2009], TV show PARK AND REC, and the upcoming SUPER TROOPERS 2 [2017]), Mckenna Grace (GIFTED [2017], THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE [2016], TV show ONCE UPON A TIME, and the upcoming AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING [2017]), Raquel Welch (LEGALLY BLONDE [2001], BEDAZZLED [1967], and ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. [1966]), and Raphael Alejandro (KINDERGARTEN COP 2 [2016] and TV show ONCE UPON A TIME).

Now for the crew. Directing is Ken Marino, known for CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, TROPHY WIFE, and BURNING LOVE. Co-writing the script is Chris Spain and Jon Zack. Spain is making his feature-film debut. Congrats, sir. Zack is known for stuff I’ve never heard of. Composing the score is Craig Wedren, known for WANDERLUST (2012), SCHOOL OF ROCK (2003), and TV show DON’T TRUST THE B—- IN APARTMENT 23. Finally, the cinematographer is John Bailey, known for THE WAY WAY BACK (2013), RAMONA AND BEEZUS (2010), and GROUNDHOG DAY (1993).

Overall, I’m pretty hesitant to go in with high expectations… so I’m not, but I’m hoping for enough funny moments to make it okay. I’ll accept “okay.”

This is my honest opinion of: HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER

(SUMMARY)

Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) has spent a couple decades trying to be a gold digger. He’s married to a wealthy older woman, hoping to inherit her fortune. Unfortunately, she has an affair on him and kicks him out of the house. In hopes of getting with another woman of similar wealth, he tries to rekindle his relationship with his sister, Sara (Salma Hayek), and his nephew Hugo (Raphael Alejandro).

(REVIEW)

This may be a slightly difficult to review as I was very drunk throughout most of the movie, but I will do what I can to do what I do. I thought this was the best movie out of the week, but that’s not saying much. It’s still not very good.

Let’s get the positives out of the way. The humor isn’t as immature as it could have been. When you go into this movie, what kind of humor would you expect? Old people who think they’re sexy jokes. While you do get more than a few shots of Derbez in a speedo, I feel like it could have been too easy to make even cruder humor. Granted, it’s PG-13, so the worst of the humor that could have come out of it would have been limited by nature, I still give props for no pride-in-dick-size jokes, or accidental nudity when diving into a pool, all of these are admirably not there. The acting isn’t awful, the physicality and effort to make some of these jokes work is there and there is a likability to the supporting characters.

However, that paragraph is all the good I can say about it.

The main problem with this comedy is that the comedy isn’t very comedic. The trailer showed off the best jokes and I can only laugh at passably humorous jokes so many times. I laughed at Sara smacking Maximo with a tortilla during the trailer. I kinda laughed when Lowe’s character shouted, “I will shoot you in the lorax!” But the rest of the film is pretty dry and tries too hard. There’s a scene where Maximo is trying to seduce Celeste (Raquel Welch) at the same time as Lowe’s character, and they both accidentally rip off her prosthetic arms (this was previously established). But I swear there are scenes there it’s obvious that her arms are flesh and blood. But let’s pretend it’s cleverly hidden, it’s still not surprising that the joke this builds up to is that both arms get ripped off. Some jokes are even confusing. You can find this bit in the trailer. It shows Maximo teaching Hugo how to walk like a sexy man and says, “You want the ladies to think ‘he must be great in bed’.” Then Hugo says, “I’m good in bed!” Maximo looks at him in shock, to which Hugo says, “I don’t wet the bed or anything anymore.” Maximo already said something inappropriate for a child to hear, with confidence no less. So when the kid says something equally inappropriate, albeit a double entendre, why is Maximo surprised by the comment? There’s a potential good joke in there, but it wasn’t executed well.

Even the very story isn’t original. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if every sitcom that has ever existed has dedicated at least one episode on what this movie’s subplots are: a hopeless romantic who thinks they’re one of the greatest lovers tries to teach a kid to be as perfect and suave as them, only to give them horrible advice that backfires and humiliates them. And despite Derbez’s best efforts, Maximo as a whole isn’t the most likable character to grace comedy. He is very apathetic toward Hugo when he meets up with Sara in the beginning, and even forgets his name. Yes, Maximo is a lazy bum who wants the easy and carefree life of a rich person without a care in the world, I get that. But how does that translate to never keeping in touch with family or not taking pride in having a nephew?

And if we’re being completely honest here, I don’t think there was any reason for Kristen Bell to be in this movie. She’s literally just an ice cream employee who eventually takes in Maximo after he gets into a fight with Sara and gets kicked out of her home. It’s a nothing role that I feel like was written in just to make Bell a crazy cat lady. It makes little to no sense to have her talent wasted here. And speaking of wasted talent… how dare this movie underutilize McKenna Grace. That girl is way too charming and talented to be some boy’s romantic interest. I pox on you, creators!

I can’t say this is an insulting movie, and there is a solid attempt to make the bad jokes work, but at the end of the day, the jokes are still bad. Though the crude humor isn’t needlessly over-the-top, it’s still crude and mostly not funny, and this story has been done to death with nothing new or fresh to add. It’ll be quickly forgotten by the masses and fade out into obscurity before we know it. I don’t recommend this in theaters or as a rental. I won’t say to run away from it, but I don’t think it’s worth the money or time.

My honest rating for HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER: a weak 3/5

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