Review: Martin Short Kills in "Only Murders in the Building"

Martin Short gives a master class in “Only the murders in the building” the Hulu series in 10 episodes in which he stars with Selena Go...


Martin Short gives a master class in “Only the murders in the building” the Hulu series in 10 episodes in which he stars with Selena Gomez and Steve Martin. (The first three episodes air Tuesday.) It’s not so much an acting or comedy class as a seminar on age and professionalism, and Short’s unmatched ability to turn selfishness into virtue. .

Martin, who designed the show, created it with and starring John Hoffman in it – Martin’s continuing first TV role – is the elephant in the spacious rooms of the pre-war apartment building in the Upper West Side where “Only Murders” takes place. (The exteriors and the courtyard are those of the great Belnord on Broadway and 86th Street.)

But it’s short, his frequent collaborator, which gives the show a comical and humane sparkle, making Martin and Gomez its foils, in the most charming way possible. He steals every scene, not out of demagoguery but with the constant skill of an old pro. He kills with filler dialogue (“You’re kidding me!” When his character isn’t allowed to return to his apartment) and throwaway gags (“Oh, aren’t you Scott Bakula?” Aimed at l ‘self-mockery always graciously Martin). You would like it to be on screen at all times.

It’s onscreen enough to take you through “Only Murders,” an otherwise benign handbag of familiar items. It’s a pamphlet about New York eccentricity, a somewhat cutesy golden age story reclaiming their mojo, and a cozy mystery of the variety of closed rooms, though in this case the play is a huge one. cooperative building.

The only original ingredient in this mix is ​​showbiz comedy: the three main characters are all obsessed with podcasts about real crime, and when another inhabitant of their apartment building is murdered in their apartment, they set up their own show called “Only Murders in the Imeuble. ” (The show has vanity project vibes, and the title’s impenetrable nature doesn’t help dispel them. This refers to a character’s insistence on keeping his podcast strictly local; imagine Martin saying, “Alone murders IN THE BUILDING. ”)

The central trio, brought together by the murder, represent different shades of New York narcissism. Charles (Martin), a once famous television actor, is smug and misanthropic; Oliver (Short), a successful Broadway director, is gabby and theatrical; the much younger Mabel (Gomez), about whom little is known, is laconic and dismissive.

As they bond to their macabre joint and get excited about both solving a mystery and creating a podcast, Oliver and Charles’ feuds are fun, and the amateur sleuth, though fairly routine, goes on. painless. The portrayal of co-op will be fun at least for those who know the real thing, and it’s fleshed out by an excellent supporting cast drawn from New York theater: Nathan Lane as King of the Deli and occasionally Broadway Angel, Amy. Ryan as possible love interest for Charles, Jayne Houdyshell as rude chair of the board, Vanessa Aspillaga as super. Da’Vine Joy Randolph comes across as a true sleuth who despises podcasts about real crime, and Tina Fey and Sting (like himself) come forward for entertaining cameos.

All of these seasoned performers provide moments of fun and the various narrative threads unfold with polite skill. But “Only Murders” doesn’t turn into something beyond the ordinary. Part of the problem is the time spent on the sentimental side of the show, in which the podcast’s success could mend Oliver’s relationship with his son, restore Charles’s self-esteem, and solve the puzzles of Mabel’s troubled past. , breaking them all out of their loneliness. York seashells.

This material takes a part of the life of what is otherwise a light-hearted but charming comedy, and it does no service to Martin, whose performance is a bit austere and closed, or to Gomez, who looks uncomfortable. comfortable and sometimes terrified. (With all the talent the veterans have on set, you’d think someone could have helped him relax and find something natural to play.)

He never slows down Short, however; he can light up a dime and make Oliver’s desperation touching, then go straight back to high comic mode. He’s the real killer in the building.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Review: Martin Short Kills in "Only Murders in the Building"
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