On Wednesday, Hulu dropped the primary three episodes of its most star-studded scripted sequence up to now, David E. Kelley’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel Nine Perfect Strangers. Directed by Jonathan Levine and co-produced by Nicole Kidman, the restricted sequence takes place in an unique wellness retreat the place the titular friends try and bear some religious and bodily transformation, guided by a sketchy Russian guru named Masha, performed by Kidman in one more distracting wig.
As Kevin Fallon opined in his review, the sequence is a tonal mishmash. Regardless of some performances that may in any other case appeal to rapid awards buzz if positioned in a greater present, notably from Melissa McCarthy and Michael Shannon, none of them actually coalesce to create a dynamic ensemble. Nor do any of those broadly written characters or the evidently fraudulent establishment warrant that a lot intrigue. On a advertising and marketing stage, the sequence additionally faces the burden of competing with the hype of HBO’s just-concluded smash hit The White Lotus, which additionally portrays wealthy individuals swapping their privileged at-home lives for one more privileged expertise in an unique location, and Kelley’s earlier Moriarty adaptation Large Little Lies, the place his pen is much extra strong.
Whether or not or not 9 Good Strangers attracts the fanfare it’s clamoring for with its forged of A-listers, its presence within the zeitgeist, and wonky, cult-ish portrayal of the wellness business, together with different new media, feels indicative of a rising exhaustion and cynicism surrounding the state of self-care and wellness, notably the methods it’s manifested in American life simply over the previous few years, from social media to QAnon conspiracies to company promoting and, after all, the present pandemic.