The screenwriter Andy Siara received all the congratulations with ‘Palm Springs’, surely the best romantic comedy of recent yearsa splendid revision of ‘Stuck in Time’ with two characters (and not just a lonely Bill Murray) dealing with the complications of being locked in an eternal loop.
The best that can be said about ‘The Resort’, a series of her creation, is that it follows the parameters of that revelation film: Siara continues to be committed to vindicate the essence of romantic comedy and, at the same time, complicate and rarefy said genre in the best way, shaking the model with unexpected bursts of darkness or injections of science fiction. Also, once again this is a rare case of visually interesting current comedy, for which we now have to thank not Max Barbakow but another director, Ben Sinclaircreator and protagonist of ‘High maintenance’, here also employed as an actor.
And again as in ‘Palm Springs’, the female lead is the great Cristin Milioti, who after revealing herself as the mother of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ has been contributing to some great milestones in recent series, such as the episode ‘USS Callister’ from ‘Black Mirror’ or the unforgettable ‘Silent and Dark Death’ from ‘ Mythic Quest’. As in the latter, Milioti once again shows the same capacity for the goofy moment and for the emotional blow, abilities shared with his partner william jackson harperwho embroiders an indecisive ‘nerd’ in ‘The good place’ that overflows with serene nobility in ‘The underground railway’.
This stellar couple has a chemistry lesson as Emma and Noah, marriage in doubtful hours that celebrates (that is to say) its tenth anniversary by escaping to a resort in the Riviera Maya, one as luxurious as those seen in ‘The White Lotus’, but, for better or worse, with even more mysterious elements in and around it. After a quad accident causes her to run into a 2000 Motorola Razr, Emma sets out to solve, with the tepid help of her husband, the double disappearance that took place in a nearby resort fifteen years ago.. Thus we observe in parallel the not insignificant love story of diffident Sam (Skyler Gisondo), whose parents are incarnated by the greats Dylan and Becky Ann Baker, and the much more feisty Violet (Nina Bloomgarden), whose widowed father is played by the ever-reliable Nick Offerman.
It’s an idea that hasn’t been used much in recent times: the couple in crisis who uses a mystery to try to fix their relationship, like Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in ‘Criminals at Sea’ or Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani in ‘The Lovebirds’ . Luckily for everyone, ‘The Resort’ is better, much better than both Netflix blunders and is on a par with good recent series about amateur detectives like ‘Search party’ or ‘Only murders in the building’.
A little in line with the latter two, ‘The resort’ is presented as pure comedy to reveal itself sooner rather than later as an experiment with tones and genres. As the action progresses, Siara is less interested in comedy than in a multi-layered, twisted and disturbing intriguein which a multidisciplinary empire expanded throughout the Yucatan peninsula, fallen teeth, slippery memories, decapitated iguanas or the vision of a meteor on its way to us.
As a director (of the first four chapters, the only ones made available to the press), Ben Sinclair knows how to cover everything with a magical aura and, as we said at the beginning, look for ingenious visual solutions for which other comedy directors would have shot anyway. The screen of a mobile can be converted into a movie projector to show with aesthetic impact Emma’s spying. Or the split screen will serve to create an impossible dialogue between times. Special mention deserves the beautiful photograph, warm and often hallucinated, of the Puerto Rican Santiago Benet Mari.
‘The resort’ may seem like a series to hang out in summer, but in reality is here to finish melting our brains. In the best possible ways.