Rolling Stone


What to stream, what to skip this month

- A.S.


Emily Mortimer plays a small role in this adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel, set between the two world wars, as the wayward mother of the story’s narrator, the responsibl­e young Fanny (Emily Beecham). But Mortimer’s more important work takes place behind the camera, where she has turned her directoria­l debut into a joyful coming-of-age tale, which at times feels as if Wes Anderson had been hired to make a Masterpiec­e Theatre miniseries. Lily James plays our adventurou­s heroine (and Fanny’s cousin), Linda, whose unwavering belief in the existence of true love is both her greatest strength and her biggest weakness. Mortimer stages each scene with verve, getting lively performanc­es from the whole cast. (Dominic West is particular­ly funny as Linda’s rich, xenophobic father.) The energy flags a bit near the end, but most of the time, Pursuit lives up to Fanny’s descriptio­n of Linda as a woman who “lived in a world of superlativ­es.”


“You know how much I hate musicals. People don’t just burst into song in real life,” complains

Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) to girlfriend Melissa (Cecily Strong). Unfortunat­ely for Josh, he and Melissa find themselves trapped in a magical little town that mashes up elements of classic musicals like Carousel and, of course, Brigadoon — including the way that the locals burst into song at the drop of a hat. Schmigadoo­n! is meant to both spoof and pay loving tribute to show tunes, but only sometimes gets that tricky balance right. Many of the songs

are practicall­y note-for-note copies of their inspiratio­ns. While it’s amusing for OB-GYN Melissa to teach a woman about sex to a sound-alike version of The Sound of Music’s “Do-Re-Mi,” when busybody Mildred (Kristen Chenoweth) dives into a pastiche of “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man, it will mostly leave you wanting to see Chenoweth play Harold Hill. Strong and the actors playing the townsfolk (including Alan Cumming, Aaron Tveit, Dove Cameron, Fred Armisen, and Jaime Camil) throw themselves wholeheart­edly into the songs and goofy tone, but having Josh perpetuall­y complain about the place (“It’s like if The Walking Dead was also Glee”) undercuts the fun behind the premise, suggesting you need to love musicals way more than he does to get full enjoyment.


Everyone’s made fun of all those sitcoms where an oafish man has a beautiful, impossibly patient wife. This hybrid series takes those jokes to their dark conclusion by considerin­g just how sad the lives of those women must be. Parts of Kevin are presented as a brightly lit sitcom with a loud laugh track, where Allison (Annie Murphy) endures the juvenile idiocy of husband Kevin (Eric Petersen) through false cheer and limp punchlines. Most of it, though, is a drama about Allison and her neighbor Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden) starting to recognize, and fight back against, the damage that losers like Kevin do to them. Murphy sparkles in a messier role than Alexis on Schitt’s Creek. The show as a whole is a fascinatin­g but limited piece of meta commentary: It’s unsettling to see the kind of emotional damage that sitcom hijinks would do to a real person, though after a while, you won’t want to be in its fake sitcom world any more than Allison does.

 ??  ?? James is looking for love in mostly the wrong
James is looking for love in mostly the wrong places.
 ??  ?? Murphy gets mad.
Murphy gets mad.
 ??  ?? Strong (left) and
Strong (left) and Key

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