Netflix casts Paul Rudd in two roles in a new show and it really only works because it’s Paul Rudd. But it does work.
Miles Elliot (Paul Rudd) is a copywriter who has grown unhappy with his job and with his life. His wife, Kate (Aisling Bea), is an interior architect who has also started to become unhappy with his constant negativity and his refusal to actually participate in their fertility treatments. While at work, one of his co-workers, Dan (Desmin Borges), tells him to go to a new spa which helped him immensely. While at the spa, Miles runs into Tom Brady who claims it’s effective, because Tom Brady doesn’t mind giving himself an advantage using creative means. After paying for his treatment, something goes awry and Miles wakes up buried underground. He escapes back to his house only to find another version of himself there. It turns out that the spa secretly makes “superior” clones of people and dumps the originals. Now Miles and New Miles must figure out how to make their situation work.
I don’t think this counts as a spoiler, but I’ll tell you that this show manages to blow by most of the clone tropes pretty quickly, which I appreciate. It helps that the clone in this case is not supposed to actually be Miles, but an improved version of Miles created through some sort of gene-manipulation mumbo-jumbo. Never mind that it’s ridiculous that they can somehow pull his memories from his DNA, they also somehow determine what genes are good or bad for his career and home life. Still, they do a good job of showing that, while the new Miles may be improved with regard to some things, he’s not necessarily truly superior in all areas. If this sounds slightly like an episode of Rick and Morty… yeah, it 100% is like that, only with longer-lasting implications and less Rick Sanchez. The plot doesn’t exactly go in the ways you think it probably would or should, which can be either refreshing, annoying, or both, depending on what you’re looking for.
The thing is, this show wouldn’t be as good without Paul Rudd. He manages to convey the two characters, who are supposed to be almost the same person, with enough nuance that you actually can keep track of which is which even when it’s not obvious from the circumstances. It helps that he makes you feel like each of them is on their own emotional journey, dealing with an almost impossible situation. Mostly, he’s just… really damned likeable as both characters. You don’t get the good/evil twin, they’re just both people trying their best. I will say that Aisling Bea does a great job of portraying a wife who was in a rough patch in her marriage and who suddenly finds herself getting an opportunity to both be with the man she loves and leave behind her baggage at the same time. The show does make her an eventual focus and her agency, subtle at first, becomes more pronounced.
The show has a habit of showing an episode from one Miles’s perspective, then doing the next episode from the other side, which only works some of the time, but when it works, it works. Most of the supporting characters do well in the show, although it is very focused on the three leads. I particularly like Alia Shawkat, AKA Maeby from Arrested Development, who plays Miles’s sister who takes the development of suddenly having 2 brothers in great stride, and Jon Glaser as her… husband(?) who, while only in it for a minute, is pretty funny.
Overall, I enjoyed it, but… mostly just for the Rudd.
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