We’ve passed the point at least a decade where it might be considered novelty to see a so-called “movie star” deigning to grace the small screen. Heck, we’ve had a spring where Harrison Ford was on multiple TV shows at the same time.
Still, witnessing the former governor of California is an immediate pleasure Arnold Schwarzenegger It’s a late arrival on the streaming landscape as the star of Netflix’s new action comedy FUBAR.
More of a SNAFU than anything else.
Just like his Planet Hollywood colleague Sylvester Stallone at the moment live through again be Oscar And To stop! Or my mother will shoot Salad days on the Paramount+ dime, Schwarzenegger uses its streaming platform as a kind of time machine.
FUBAR is a throwback – if you were to tell me that creator Nick Santora has had a version of this screenplay in his drawer since 1995, I’d believe you – to a moment when Schwarzenegger’s name on the marquee was at least a guarantee of, big, stupid fun.
As a series FUBAR yields perhaps 1.33 of these elements.
It is not big. At no point in the first eight-episode season did I even think, “Man, I can’t believe they have the budget to do this for TV.” There’s fights and explosions and the semblance of international travel, but the Much of the series consists of people arguing in offices or on the sets of airplanes.
It’s fun at times, but much more often it’s just “not boring,” which I’ll admit I’m happy to settle for. Even though the overall plot of the season is half generic spy stuff and half straight spy stuff True Liesas just lifts from True Lies go, FUBAR is a notch or two above the short-lived of CBS True Lies.
It’s definitely stupid. FUBAR is a show where half the characters are proven geniuses — if you would tell me Santora repurposed a failed pitch for season five Scorpio Here I would believe you – and yet not a single part of the narrative progresses without someone doing something dramaturgically illogical to set it in motion. It’s a series of randomly introduced (and forgotten) character details, recycled punchlines, accidental creepiness, and bizarre thematic choices.
Schwarzenegger plays Luke Brunner. To his family, he’s the mild-mannered owner of a fitness equipment store whose propensity to miss important life events led to his divorce from Tally (Fabiana Udenio) — though his relationship with daughter Emma (Monica Barbaro) and his universally forgotten son Oscar (Devon Bostick) remains intact.
But guess what? Luke is NOT a mild-mannered gym equipment store owner! He’s a SPY! He is part of a team of CIA agents that also includes technician Van Barry (Milan Carter) – who Luke’s family believes also works in the fitness business – and slightly more specialized agent Aldon (Travis Van Winkle, who takes over his). belong and Roo (Fortune Feimster, who probably rewrote half of her dialogue but should have rewrote it all). Shocking right?
But wait. there is more An international incident brews involving the leader (Gabriel Lunas Boro) of a South American separatist organization with ties to Luke’s past, and it turns out the CIA has an undercover agent in this leader’s camp. And the agent is… Emma! The acronym you are looking for here is “OMG” and not “FUBAR”. Either way, Luke and Emma must learn to work together while also realizing their entire father-daughter relationship was a lie.
Perhaps the premise is a bit further Mr and Mrs Smith as True Liesbut Arnold Schwarzenegger was not there Mr and Mrs Smith. Either way, it barely takes a second FUBAR This doesn’t sound familiar, usually from better source material, but sometimes what doesn’t work also sounds familiar. If you’ve seen it True Lies Lately, it’s almost impossible to watch the scenes starring Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and the late Bill Paxton without feeling gross. Somehow decades later FUBAR falls into an almost identical swamp of disgust from Luke’s developing commitment to Emma and her sex life with nerdy fiancé Carter (a wasted Jay Baruchel) and the more aesthetically apt Aldon. Also, during an operation, Emma has to trap a nerd who literally doesn’t have a single personality trait other than his love of brawls. The whole thing is uncomfortable and not exactly funny.
Very little inside FUBAR It’s funny what happens when you make a show that’s an action comedy and directed by people who specialize in action – not that the world-spanning adventure or episodic missions have much scope or precision. Some of the failed attempts to show humor are just plain boring, like a runner Luke doesn’t understand what “cuckolding” is, while others seem like drawn-out preparations for wins that never materialize. The scripts try far too hard to give the characters kissing lines, and they try even harder to incorporate references to Schwarzenegger’s work – some very directly and others so indirectly that they could be coincidences.
Most of the time, however, every innuendo and slang or slang just feels old, like when the characters are awaiting a presidential decision directive to authorize torture, and Roo “quips” “Are you done with PDD?” and Aldon replies, “Yeah, you know me.” The exchange would have humiliated me enough if it weren’t for torture-based humor in what is arguably the most torture-friendly TV episode I’ve ever seen, with parallel dueling episodes of torture with Tom Arnold. In a series mostly forgettable, this particular episode is haunting. Honestly, any story arc that focuses solely on Luke and Emma’s non-spy family — a little girl who happens to be diagnosed with previously undisclosed cancer, Oliver’s app, Tally’s new relationship, or her encounter with two men who own a competing sporting goods store operate – hurts a little.
The side of FUBAR What comes closest to the work is the part where Emma and Luke undergo therapy together under the supervision of Scott Thompson’s Dr. Louis pepper have to make. In scenes like this, setting aside how stupid it is for the CIA to entrust a globally sensitive mission to a team in which the two central members are a quarreling father and a quarreling daughter, one can spot ideas at work and even , In an elaborate puppet session, identify clues to something new. Sure, this “fresh” approach would be True Lies through The Sopranosbut I don’t think I’ve seen that before.
These scenes, which last long past the point where the plot is plausible, succeed in large part because — and let’s give a quick compliment here — Schwarzenegger and Barbaro are good. He’s matured into a grizzled yet quintessentially Schwarzenegger version of 70-year-old manhood — the show assumes the 75-year-old actor is 65 — in which both weary resignation and a measure of ass-kicking are believable. As a mindless father, he’s far more convincing than when a particularly nasty script asks him to say “Galifianakis.” And she has adopted some of her boasting Top Gun: MaverickBarbaro nails her character’s impatience and versatility in the spy game, though the chemistry between her and Baruchel and Van Winkle is equally negligible.
I think Feimster, guest star Adam Pally, and Aparna Brielle, who play an NSA agent who’s brought into the team for no apparent reason, all made me laugh at least once, but probably not more than once. But most of all, the series made me realize how tough action comedy, especially the comedic part, is. These are talented people who lash out.
I imagine the reassuring resemblance to many of his better works would have drawn Schwarzenegger and his fans FUBAR is not, no matter what the title might suggest, completely falsified beyond recognition. In fact, it’s mediocre in an all too recognizable way.