Netflix has been solid in terms of original series and documentaries, but this is the first time I've watched one of their original movies. It was a recommendation for me from someone who has a similar sense of humor, so I expected good things, but in the end, it fell short.

"Handsome" is a parody of the procedural drama. It has a pair of experienced detectives, a group of rookies, a stressful chief, a shocking murder, etc. It started off solid, packing a lot of jokes into the beginning, but somewhere around the second act, everything just fell apart.

I had to pause about midway through to see if this was just a single movie, or part of a series or mini-series that Netflix was running. It seemed much more like the pilot of a television series; the way it established characters felt more like TV characters than movies. I think I would actually watch more "episodes" of this, because they really were interesting characters. It ended up making me want to know more, without ever delivering. I'm all for ambiguity, all for unexplained backstories, but there was just something about the writing in this case that made it feel like it was meant for a longer run. On the flip, it could also have just been part of a recurring SNL sketch, where each story is knocked out in 3-5 minutes. Bring the characters back next week, the new host plays the new bad guy, and it just recycles. It just never felt like a stand-alone movie.

The acting made up for a script, but not enough to totally redeem the movie. Jeff Garlin is strong, Natasha Lyonne is a lot of fun. Christine Woods was great as a potential love interest, and Steven Weber was solid as a pretentious actor.

If Garlin and Netflix want to get together and stretch this into something more, I might not be the first in line to watch it, but it's definitely something I would enjoy. A just one movie, I ended up feeling unsatisfied.


[Celluloid Hero] gives "Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie" a 5 out of 10.




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