Wolf Like Me review – so bad it’s good? No, just the old | Television
MModern dating is a minefield at the best of times, let alone when you’re 40, living in a foreign country, widowed, and single father of an emotionally difficult 11-year-old. . When we meet American expat Gary (Josh Gad), he gets dumped in an Australian restaurant by a self-proclaimed empath who claims he’s not emotionally available enough. Shortly after, Gary has a chance encounter with beautiful Mary (Isla Fisher) when their cars collide, and is stunned when she manages to soothe his daughter Emma (Ariel Donoghue) during a panic attack – something something he cannot do himself. Mary looks like a dream come true, but all is not as it seems.
Directed by Abe Forsythe and executive produced by Jodi Matterson (Nine Perfect Strangers), Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies) and Steve Hutensky (The Dry), this schlocky six-part series is choppy and muddled, unsure of its purpose. Mary’s true identity is hinted at in the show’s title, which has all the subtlety of a Twilight movie – except that Twilight could be considered “so bad it’s good”, and that’s really just that. the first.
Mary is a kind of maniacal pixie dream wolf, playing the future stepmother of Emma’s dreams; she gives the girl a Carl Sagan novel, which Emma reads obsessively, and recommends a Queens of the Stone Age song, so Emma locks herself in a car to listen to it. Mary’s charm, for both Emma and her father, is the way she can break through some kind of emotional center: by interacting with Mary, Emma is able to develop new vocabulary that helps her in her therapy sessions. But does all of this make Mary a good partner for Gary?
Here’s where Wolf Like Me perhaps gets a little good: illustrating the addictive, push-pull nature of toxic relationships. Just as we think Gary is definitely missing, something brings him back to Mary; Mary’s constant running away is frustrating but understandable, given her fear of intimacy and judgment. Both characters elicit a certain sympathy from the viewer, but neither is particularly likable. The relationship is unhealthy on both sides and borders on emotional abuse, manipulation and border crossings. It’s hard to watch without thinking that both characters would be better off without the other.
One of the first scenes shows Gary ordering a taxi driver to follow Mary home so he can see for himself what she’s up to. “You shouldn’t follow women like that, it’s 2021,” the driver said. This is perhaps the only real moment of realization in the series. His portrayal of women and race leaves a lot to be desired: One particularly uncomfortable thread sees Gary dating an Asian woman, who is only on the dating app to learn English.
Wolf Like Me gets more ridiculous over the six 30-minute episodes, with Mary and Gary’s relationship growing at breakneck speed as their lives intertwine. The climax, in which Mary’s secret is finally shown on screen, is ridiculously bad – the special effects and costumes leave a lot to be desired – but there’s a sweet father-daughter moment there, in which Gary finally finds a way to communicate with Emma.
Still, the plot is absurd. It’s hard to say what genre Wolf Like Me wants to be. Horror? Romcom? Drama? A mix of the three? Either way, it falls flat.