FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE YET TO SEE THE RESORT, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
Palm Springs is one of my favorite films from the past couple of years and I have eagerly been awaiting the new project from its brilliant writer, Andy Siara. He has returned in full force with Peacock’s eight-episode limited series The Resort, re-teaming with Cristin Milioti and enlisting The Good Place’s William Jackson Harper, as his co-lead. With these two highly talented comedic forces at the forefront, Siara is able to weave another ambitious love story that throws every genre in the blender, for one very bizarre and unique concoction. The Resort, unfortunately, lacks the precision and focus of our creator’s work on Palm Springs, but Siara mostly makes up for that with The Resort’s sheer audacity.
WHAT IS THE RESORT ALL ABOUT?
Milioti and Harper star as Emma and Noah, a couple who have been married for ten years and are hitting a roadblock in their relationship. They hope to mend some of their issues with an anniversary trip to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. After an ATV accident, Emma finds an old cell phone in the jungle that just so happens to belong to a tourist who went missing fifteen years ago during a hurricane. Much to Noah’s chagrin, Emma begins falling down a rabbit hole trying to solve this mystery: which leads them on a wild goose chase through the Yucatan and embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy. One thing is for sure though, this vacation will either bring these two together or tear them apart for good.
WHAT CAN THIS SERIES BE COMPARED TO?
There is so much going on in The Resort that trying to pin-point exactly what it’s like, is a difficult task. It’s a mix of Siara’s own Palm Springs dealing with love and the construct of time, a dash of Mike White’s The White Lotus with its ensemble dramedy-roots taking place at a beautiful resort and surrounding a mystery… then it at times reminded me of The Daniels’ Everything, Everywhere, All At Once in how it mixes so many genres together, sprinkled with some raucous comedy and finds sincerity within so much chaos. And just like that film, even if there are things about The Resort that will remind you of other projects, this series is ultimately unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. And that is some of the highest praise I can give to any piece of entertainment.
IS THIS A LOVE STORY? A TRUE CRIME MYSTERY? OR BOTH…?
First and foremost, The Resort is a love story… one that is told on two different timelines, between two different couples. One is about the genesis of first love…. The excitement, temptation, fear, and angst that all come with falling head over heels for another human for the first time. The other, is about the roadblocks of love… what gets in our way from being the partner we want to be? What makes us grow apart, but more importantly, what continues to tie us together? These stories are then connected by this true crime mystery that involves decapitated iguanas, an apocalyptic storm, a reclusive writer, an infamously powerful family of fashion, a four-nosed yellow snake, a disheveled Santa whose mind is leaking, and the space-time continuum.
IS THE GENRE-BENDING TOO MUCH?
Now, if all of that sounds like a little too much for you… then The Resort is probably not for you. This is one bizarre show, that throws everything at you that it can, to see what sticks. And that is also a strength and weakness of this series. While so much of it works, you can feel the writers getting lost many times throughout these eight episodes… as if they have hit a roadblock themselves and are unsure where all of this madness is actually going. Luckily, they are able to reel it all back in and continue to forge their way forward, but it can make for a frustrating watch at times.
DOES IT ALL COME TOGETHER BY THE END?
One could only wish that Siara had a couple more episodes to flesh out his ideas and execute his vision more clearly. Because by the end, I still felt a little lost myself. As if I got most of what Siara was trying to say, I also felt as if it all hadn’t come together in the most satisfying ways. There are a lot of loose ends in The Resort and I’m not sure if that was intentional, but it would have been nice for it to have felt a little tighter and a little less haphazard. I also think that, while the mystery of the series is what kept me engaged throughout… It is the integral love story that left far more of an impact.
HOW ARE CRISTIN MILIOTI & WILLIAM JACKSON HARPER?
This leads me to Cristin Miliotand William Jackson Harper… two very talented performers, who are absolutely exceptional here. The two are able to take all of Siara’s insane ideas and cut a clear line through them, creating two very genuine and captivating characters. You cannot help, but root for these two and their plight… Championing them when they are coming together as one, and then feeling gutted when they continue to fail to see eye-to-eye.
Their relationship is believable and their chemistry is palpable, so the two are able to ground Siara’s material to a place that the audience can connect to it. Once The Resort is finished, there’s a really good chance that you will want to dive right back in and watch it again, to unpack everything that you’ve just seen… and to further try and piece together our creator’s vision. But, the main draw to staying at this resort for just a little bit longer… are the two main guests who are leading the way.
The Resort premieres on Peacock July 28th, 2022
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