Melissa McCarthy is a talent. But there is no argument to be made for the existence of her latest Netflix series.
It’s a tale as old as time. Or, it’s a tale as old as 2014, the year the multi-talented Melissa McCarthy first released a project that was written and directed by her husband, Ben Falcone.
That movie was Tammy and it’s, uh, not good, to put it generously. McCarthy’s propensity to collaborate with her beloved is commendable, and they obviously enjoying working together. But it’s a formula for mediocrity, at best.
Since Tammy, the McCarthy/Falcone oeuvre has included vomitus efforts such as Superintelligence, Thunder Force and Life Of The Party. The one redeeming feature of these movies is that they’re done in under two hours.
But a TV show, yikes, that’s four hours of Falcone’s lame, tame and infantile stylings.
God’s Favourite Idiot – yes, it’s technically spelt the American way and even though it’s a title, we just can’t bring ourselves to do it – is an eight-episode series starring Falcone and McCarthy and written by Falcone.
The series’ pros are that as real-life partners, McCarthy and Falcone genuinely spark on screen and they have an easy, charming chemistry together. Also a positive is it’s not super offensive. Even the toilet jokes don’t rankle or repulse.
Another potential pro, depending on your perspective, is that God’s Favourite Idiot is not going to make you exert yourself. You’ll engage neither your brain nor your core muscles. And if that’s the goal, to create a TV show that is the ultimate lean-back, no investment, no reaction experience, God’s Favourite Idiot ticks that box.
For a so-called comedy, it’s only about two-thirds into the second episode before it elicits anything resembling a mild chuckle. Or maybe that was indigestion from dinner.
The story, if you still care, involves Clark (Falcone), an unassuming office worker who is struck by a weird beam of light from the heavens – and now he sometimes glows.
Amily (McCarthy), his colleague and the woman Clark not-so-secretly is crushing on, notices his mysterious, undefined powers, and when he’s exposed to the world, they have to confront the gauntlet of his new fame.
Oh, and apparently Clark is now the Earthly warrior in the ongoing battle between Heaven and Hell, as God’s emissary. Satan (Leslie Bibb) ascends to destroy him while an angel, Chaumel (Yanic Truesdale), aids the human everyman. Magda Szubanski turns up at some point as god.
It’s like Dogma – but without any of the clever writing, stakes, momentum, coherence or skeeball.
There’s a workplace comedy element with Clark and Amily’s colleagues (Usman Ally, Chris Sanford and Ana Scotney), a Greek chorus of inconsequential chatter. But it would be generous to call it a workplace comedy, because, well, comedy requires humour.
McCarthy’s insistence on teaming up with Falcone is understandable, but now five projects in, it’s clearly a combination that is not working and is also not improving. Neither of them are getting much out of it, creatively.
God’s Favourite Idiot is a series with no distinctive qualities, no personality, no purpose and it’s screaming, “No reason to watch.”
God’s Favourite Idiot is streaming now on Netflix