I chose to briefly review these three recent Netflix comedies because each one has received a favorable score on Rotten Tomatoes: Ali’s Wedding ( 92% | 7/10 | 24 Reviews ), Alex Strangelove ( 86% | 6.4/10 | 21 Reviews ), & Set It Up ( 94% | 7.3/10 | 34 Reviews).
The results should not shock anyone
Mildly entertaining and for all practical purpose an interesting cross-cultural (Iraq-Australia) comedy that demonstrates the stifling of women in Muslim communities. It tells the story of Ali (Osamah Sami) and the lie he told to retain the respects of his family. The arranged marriage that he was all to unwilling to entertain. And a number of important cultural themes that get lost in the film’s incessant effort to make light of the situation. By curtains close, I think we all know what will happen.
RATING: C | 👎
This is a feel-good coming-out film in the vein of Love, Simon that channels Glee and American Pie while having no lasting impact and no real attempt in making a good film. Redundant high school drama with a cringeworthy ending entailing a full-blown jubilation of acceptance. I understand the purpose of the film, but glamorizing the reality of the situation does not to prepare the gay community for what may otherwise be a very difficult moment in their lives. And making more bad films about the gay community makes it no more acceptable than the faith community showering their respective audiences with feel good injections. Craig Johnson is not a serious filmmaker; his only intentions here was to recycle old tropes wrapped in established Hollywood themes in order to raise his own profile. And, the critics are rewarding him for it.
If people want to see a better version of this theme, go see Beach Rats (incidentally including the same actress, Madeline Weinstein).
RATING: D | 👎
Set It Up
In the hierarchy of roles where top dog gets to treat the underlings like crap in a barrel, the Set It Up serves to show that films too can find a home among the mindless vagabonds of creative output. Starring Zoey Deuch (not to be confused with Haley Lu Richardson) and some guy who tries to imitate Max Greenfiled (Schmidty!), this banal romcom, typically reserved for the Christmas season, is a cynical parent trap parody that lives of the fumes of an incorrigible generation of film watchers who take after Wall-E in finding treasure in what is undeniably garbage. The one exception: Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).
Of course, film critics loved it. Probably none more than Jeffrey Lyles (Lyles’ Movie Files) whose taste is personified by a 9.5/10 rating and this hopeless review: “[t]his is the kind of romantic comedy some exec should be busy congratulating themselves for backing and producing.”
RATING: D | 👎