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Review | Blockbuster: Netflix’s sitcom is a missed opportunity to salvage rental-era nostalgia

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Going to the movies on Fridays was the kind of tradition that crowned the start of the 90s/00s youth weekend. Among the vast shelves of productions of the most diverse genres, there was an inviting community atmosphere. Between new rentals and returns of other cassettes or DVDs, there has been a unique exchange that has become increasingly rare with the popularization of streaming platforms. And what was once such a pleasant shared experience is now just a memory of a time that will never be repeated. And saving that magic so alive in millennials is the big motto of Blockbuster, Netflix’s new original sitcom. But with bad jokes and overly cartoonish characters, what could have been as nostalgic as Stranger Things has become a missed opportunity that doesn’t deserve this throwback.

In the plot, Timmy (Randall Park) is the owner of what will be the last Blockbuster unit still standing in the United States. Immature and not very responsible, the small entrepreneur will do everything to keep the movie rental company intact, even if the accelerated evolution of streaming platforms constantly proves the contrary. Alongside a very atypical and caricatural team of employees, he tries to navigate these uncertain waters, because he understands that the time has finally come to grow and move on. And with a storyline that aims to focus on the construction and development of its protagonists, Blockbuster tries to go beyond its cornerstone, aiming for a more symbolic and emotional perspective, which explores human relationships with sensitivity and a cutting edge. of sweetness. But when you have uncharismatic and very childish characters, it’s hard to identify with the story. Yet, in essence, it is quite relatable.

And Blockbuster has all the elements needed to be awesome. With the right to use the trademark guaranteed, the production easily prints the colors and logo of the world’s largest car rental franchise, already naturally bringing out this nostalgic factor in the public. However, with a rather superficial storyline, based on forced and bland jokes, the comedy series does not even convince us in its 22 minutes of the inaugural episode. Trying to construct her humor from a wide range of cinematic references, Vanessa Ramos sins by wasting the context that favors her so much and leaves us adrift with comedic sagas of the 2000s, full of hooks that only underline how difficult the art of making people laugh. .

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Often bowing to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, whose first job was at a movie rental company, Blockbuster misses the opportunity to abuse the nostalgia the brand itself carries and spoil its brainchild. In theory, all the elements work. But in practice, the script’s sloppy execution turns the 10 episodes into a grueling repetition of a bad repertoire of jokes. Unfortunately, the series lacks a comic bias as a common thread, which guides and unites all other narrative elements. And because he prefers to turn dialogue into a random, disconnected toss of the plot, Ramos is unable to sustain his story and therefore doesn’t hold our attention either. Drawing inspiration from productions like The Clerk and Hacks, Blockbuster prefers to go the other way around, staying in a comfort zone, reproducing the manual of bland comedy and political correctness – which might not even make you lose your friend. , but that certainly made him lose his audience.

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