The Best You Can Be – | Review Score – 3/5
Made in a Strip Mall – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Green Tea – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Soul Mate – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Va Bene – | Review Score – 4/5
Neighbors and Friends – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Piña Colada – | Review Score – 3/5
Nice Knowing You – | Review Score – 3.5/5
They say two heads are better than one and in the case of Netflix’s latest dramedy Living With Yourself, that concept is put to the test. With an inspired dual performance from Paul Rudd and a surprisingly complementary supporting role from Aisling Bea, Living With Yourself is a light, breezy series that’s easy to sit through and binge, complete with a cliffhanger ending at the end teasing more of the story to come. Although some of the larger themes aren’t explored in that much detail, there’s enough here to make for an enjoyable, entertaining series nonetheless.
The story follows Miles, a man down on his luck and getting nowhere with his marriage and career. After following the advice from one of his co-workers Dan, he heads to the spa where he receives an experimental procedure for the handsome sum of $50,000. Unfortunately, things go awry and the result are two versions of Miles running around wrestling for power and dominance over Miles’ life. The increasing dominance and unrivaled enthusiasm of the new clone prompts old Miles to fight for his very existence and control over his life. All of this culminates in a climactic finale that leaves things wide open for a second season that may or may not arrive.
In terms of tone, Living With Yourself keeps things pretty light without diving too deeply into the morality of the situation. There are some nice instances of time overlapping and a few interwoven narratives do well to keep things original, but largely the story plays on its drama much more than the comedy. Having said that, there are some genuinely funny moments nestled throughout the series and the humour is cleverly written and keeps things from falling too deep into melodramatic waters. There’s elements of The Cable Guy thrown in here too and while the series never quite reaches those levels of dark comedy, a lot of the ideas do draw from the same inspired source material.
With 8 episodes clocking in at around 25 minutes or so, Living With Yourself is a very easy show to sit through and therein lies the biggest problem with the series. With most of the early portion of the season dedicated to character building, it’s only really during the final few episodes where the plot starts moving forward at a decent pace. The fifth episode does change things up nicely though, shifting perspective to Miles’ wife Kate and arguably this episode is the strongest of the bunch. Having said that, this is one of those rare instances where I wish the series was a little longer as the increased momentum is suddenly stopped abruptly as the season draws to a close.
For the most part, Living With Yourself relies heavily on its character performances to push the narrative forward and it’s here the series thrives. Paul Rudd does a great job in both of his roles and you really feel like there’s two different characters here, much to the credit of this versatile actor. While it never quite reaches the brilliance of J.K. Simmons in Counterpart, there’s enough here to make for an enjoyable and believable performance nonetheless. The casting for Kate is perfect too and she does well to really balance things out throughout the series.
There’s plenty of questions hanging over this one when the final credits roll and whether Living With Yourself is renewed for a second season or not remains to be seen. Based on this showing though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix green-light a second and given the relative ease to get through this one, it’s a nice show to binge through and watch. While it’s unlikely to reach the same lofty heights as other dramedies of its kind, there’s enough here to make it worth checking out.
Verdict - 7/10