Zo Kravitz makes on John Cusacks role, relitigating her romantic past to get over a breakup, in this often hollow 10 -part Hulu update of the Nick Hornby comedy
Rob Brooks, the whiz of Hulu’s reimagining of High Fidelity, is a difficult protagonist to have sympathy for. She is, first and foremost, played by Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and an actor of effortless cool. She garments in thoughtless more perfect thrifted clothings, owns a( seemingly successful) record store employing her two most special friend, has a comfortable Brooklyn apartment filled with vinyls and a usable bathtub, and can easily school anyone’s music learning while slinging back whiskey neats. She has, in other words, all the enviable verve of a rockstar child; her biggest concern is her regression with the three men who dropped her a year prior, hitherto High Fidelity tries- and tries very difficult, sometimes entertainingly- to realise you feel her nostalgic miscalculations are an all-consuming, relatable pain.
The result is a show which is sometimes grating yet sneakily juggling, in the way that beautiful, curated messiness are available to. The Hulu show re-envisions the 2000 movie- itself an adaptation of a 1995 Nick Hornby novel set in 1980 s London- in which John Cusack represents a self-absorbed record store owner relitigating his nostalgic past to get over an ex. This edition swaps Chicago for Crown Heights( and a little Williamsburg ), and the Everyman Cusack for sublime Kravitz, it maintains Rob’s fourth-wall violates, through which to dismiss someone or something, and a plan to revisit past heartaches to explain how she’s alone by age 30. The gender snap smartly reorients the music of the movie; now, a black, faggot female( one of Rob’s top five ex-lovers is a woman) imposes the terms of flavour and argues the vibe, even if her pop culture awareness is almost entirely music-centric( a series-long chip involves Rob talking about but never actually watching The Sopranos, a hand-picked to ignore a television touchstone that feels targeted and also very much something I have done ).
The show also gives the duration, perhaps to its disservice; over 10 half-hour episodes, Rob stews over her ex-fiance Mac( Kingsley Ben-Adir ), who dropped her a year ago and recently moved back to the city. She copes by hashing out theoretical top five listings( top five desert island masters, top five all-time heartbreaks) with her works/ best friends Simon( David H Holmes) and Cherise( a scene-stealing Da’Vine Joy Randolph ), and half-hearted relationships with guys she increases to cliches- a red-hot musician( Thomas Doherty, in a character initially played by Kravitz’s mother, Lisa Bonet) and Nice Guy With A Prius Clyde( Jake Lacy ). Her misfortune party- darkness out at the bar where she used to DJ, nights in smoking to old-fashioned records- is soundtracked by an omnivorous, too-cool playlist( the Root’ Questlove serves as musical consultant ).
Kravitz is an able performer who sheens in Rob’s instants of sincere conflict, but is miscast for a persona as a relatable everywoman whose self-pity is supposed to anchor a five-hour show; it’s hard to take her seriously when she saunters down the street saying ” New York is full of people who stir you feel not enough” or exclaims she’s always dreamed of dating a musician. It would be one thing if the depict was in on the joke, if Rob’s judgments of other’s stability or style or music flavor as uncool were thrown or turned away on her. Instead, the picture predominantly feeds into her impression of predominance- an influencer clan is, as she discloses to the viewer, disturbing and basic, an old-time relationship she applies for a night out is tiring, and she isn’t proven wrong.