Sour and sweet

On Net­flix show The Kominsky Method, two screen leg­ends add pathos to the pat­ter

Esquire (UK) - - Culture -

“It’s a com­edy with­out jokes,” is how one of Sandy Kominsky’s act­ing stu­dents in­tro­duces the in­cest-based screen­play she’s brought in to per­form in class in new Net­flix se­ries The Kominsky Method. It’s not a bad de­scrip­tion of The Kominsky Method it­self ei­ther, given that the half-hour show comes from Chuck Lorre, cre­ator of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang The­ory (some might say he has pre­vi­ous). But while The Kominsky Method has

gen­tle comedic un­der­tones and some weary punch­lines, it is as a drama that it really de­liv­ers. Sandy, played by Michael Dou­glas, is an age­ing ac­tor who teaches aspi­rants au­di­tion­ing for shampoo com­mer­cials while hop­ing his once-suc­cess­ful ca­reer may bloom again.

His long-stand­ing agent, Nor­man, played by Alan Arkin, is on hand with the Weedol. The agent-ac­tor dy­namic is of course tried and tested (though Arkin’s char­ac­ter is the more Larry-Da­vid­ian) and their first en­counter in episode one sug­gests we are set­tling in for a Statler and Wal­dorf re­hash (Sandy: “Right out the gate you wanna bust my balls?” Nor­man: “They are a low-hang­ing fruit”). But stay with it, be­cause very quickly The Kominsky Method shows it­self to be more than tired hi-hat repar­tee. By the end of the first episode Nor­man has be­come a wid­ower and, as the eight episodes progress, the ten­der­ness be­tween Nor­man and

Sandy is re­vealed. It’s cer­tainly not hin­dered by hav­ing two stel­lar leads — Arkin in par­tic­u­lar is won­der­ful — and in the end the corny one-lin­ers come to feel less like the ex­pres­sion of bit­ter old age than the af­fir­ma­tion of a well-worn friend­ship.

The Kominsky Method launches on Net­flix

on 16 Novem­ber

Method act­ing: Alan Arkin andMichael Dou­glas

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