Review 'Nine Perfect Strangers,' 'White Lotus,' but just plain bad.
It happens all the time. Sometimes, as with “Dante’s Peak” and “Volcano” a generation ago, you get two
lava-spewing melodramas in the same dang summer.
And this week, despite every risky-overlap plot component and peril, HBO’s “The White Lotus” has taken
the wind out of Hulu’s “Nine Perfect Strangers,” the strangely affectless eight-part adaptation of Liane
Moriarty’s novel, which began Wednesday.
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with ‘White Lotus,’ but just plain bad.
“The White Lotus” is deserving of any number of counter-arguments.
A nation has been hooked by writer-director Mike White’s deft, wonderfully played dig at vexing white
privilege and small hypocrisy fires everywhere. Minority opinion, but I believe the series, with the
exception of Jennifer Coolidge, falls prey to a lot of what it needles along the way, and it’s more effective
as a somewhat curdled humorous soap opera than as true societal satire. (She’s incredible.)
In contrast to the merits and limitations of “Lotus,” “Nine Perfect Strangers” tastes dull and has an
Although it takes its slow, obvious time shoving things in that way, this one venture into thriller and
Masha, the ethereal director of Tranquillum House, is played by Nicole Kidman, who is unblinking and
She and her team are hosting the title’s nine strangers, each of whom has a mysterious motive for being
there and for being chosen by Masha.
There’s a well-known but self-hating novelist (Melissa McCarthy), who was recently the victim of online
fraud; a former NFL player (Bobby Cannavale) who’s addicted to opioids; and a married couple (Michael
Shannon and Asher Keddie) who’ve brought their 20-year-old daughter (Grace Van Patten).
The couple’s kid committed suicide, and the family is grieving.
whose self-improvement to-do list of weight loss, et cetera, seems to put her apart from the dreadful
loads of her fellow visitors is also on-site and eager to shed some baggage.
Another married couple, this one ostensibly gorgeous and wealthy, is played by Samara Weaving and
In the meantime, their sex life has plummeted to pennies on the dollar.
What is Masha’s plan for this retreat?
In “Nine Perfect Strangers,” that is the only actual question posed, and the show fails to fill it in with
interesting restatements or side angles.
The first, menacing/beautiful close-up of the smoothies being produced in the retreat’s kitchen reveals
that there is some pharmacological micro-dosing going on in the blenders to all but the most cynical observer.
We understand that Masha is receiving considerably more death threats than normal.
Her attractive employees (Tiffany Boone and Manny Jacinto), who are lovers despite Masha’s emotional,
if not psychic, hold reservations about the “protocols” she employs with this particularly combustible group.
has nine different tones, frequently in the same episode: Personal confessionals are interspersed with
humorous relief dream scenes.
While co-creator David E. Kelley, who worked on this with John Henry Butterworth, has gotten away with
tonal zigzags before, from “Ally McBeal” on down, they aren’t helpful here.
And these people’s troubles have a pre-pandemic tra-la-la feel to them.
If the direction is the tone control, as Joel Coen has stated, “Nine Perfect Strangers” has a major flaw.
In contrast to what Mike White achieves within the humorous and tragic strains of “The White Lotus,”
Jonathan Levine erroneously tries a little bit of everything.
Rather than casting a spell, it uses air quotes to encircle its characters.
‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ review: Not just crummy timing with ‘White Lotus,’ this new Hulu series is plain disappointing
© 2018 new 24 hour
© 2018 new 24 hour