You can never have enough Paul Rudd, you say? Then maybe ‘Living With Yourself’ is just the tv-series for you. The by Timothy Greenberg (The Detour) created show tells the story of Miles (Rudd), a man in his late thirties who’s living day after day as if he’s stuck in purgatory. Nothing excites him anymore and his relationship with Kate (Aisling Bea) is not what it used to be. They’ve been trying to get pregnant, but Miles keeps missing his appointments at the fertility clinic, to see if he’s maybe the problem to this unsuccessful journey into parenthood.
When another meeting turns into a brainstorming dud, he notices his old friend Dan (Desmin Borges), now rivalling co-worker, bringing fresh ideas to the table. A night at TGI Friday’s gets them talking about a spa somewhere in an abandoned strip mall, where Dan went for a cleansing treatment, giving him a new “view” on life. Miles, not truly convinced a spa can breathe new life into him, gives them a call to enquire about this treatment. A few thousand dollars lighter in his bank account, Miles rocks up at the spa and they get down to business. When he wakes up half naked and buried in a plastic bag in the woods, he walks home to find an exact replica of himself at the dinner table with his wife. It’s up to him to not draw attention, find out what exactly happened in the spa and how he and his new self can co-exist – if that’s even an option.
Written by creator Timothy Greenberg, Living With Yourself has quite the interesting premise, but stretched out over eight episodes – each running for about 30 minutes, is what I’d call a stretch. Also considering the fact, we get a different viewpoint each episode, going from New Miles to Old Miles, each time reliving the same events and building forth from that, it truly becomes the definition of repetitive. Paul Rudd knows how to do comedy, but there’s a lot of drama happening here too. I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked him as much as I usually do, in films such as ‘Ant-Man’, ‘This is 40’ and ‘I Love You, Man’. To have two similar but still different characters played by the same actor, acquires a lot of talent and it becomes clear early on that Rudd might not have been the right choice here.
Irish actress and comedian Aisling Bea plays Rudd’s on screen wife. Coming from a comedy background, you could tell she was not in her comfort zone and I found her character extremely unlikeable. I think this was an overall problem with the series, not one character was appealing. There’s one person who came close, but Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) as Miles’ sister has barely any screen time.
Greenberg has interesting ideas, but the execution lacks direction and spunk. There’s nothing to drive this story to the next level, which is a total shame. When you combine this with a score that’s all over the place and changes every episode, but never fits with whatever is happening on screen – you can’t help but feel disconnected.
Living With Yourself could have been something remarkable, but never lives up to its premise. A ‘Duplicity‘ remake would’ve been more interesting, than something as flat and lifeless as this duo of Rudd’s.
Living With Yourself premieres October 18 on Netflix.
Netflix Review – ‘Living With Yourself’
Reviewed at Netflix (early access provided by publicity team), Sydney, Oct. 8, 2019. CBA-Rating: TBC. Running time: 8 episodes of 30 min. approximately.
PRODUCTION: An Netflix Release of a Jax Media, Likely Story production. Co-Producer: Isabel Richardson. Executive producers: Anthony Bregman, Tony Hernandez, Jeff Stern, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, Timothy Greenberg, Paul Rudd. Post producer: Michael Amodio. Line producer: Karl Frankenfield.
CREW: Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris. Camera (color, widescreen): Darren Lew. Editor: Jesse Gordon.
WITH: Paul Rudd, Aisling Bea, Alia Shawkat, Desmin Borges, Karen Pittman, Zoe Chao, Joseph Bessette, Rob Yang.