In BARRY (HBO, also streaming on Google Play), SNL veteran Bill Hader stars as a Marine veteran working as a hit man, who while tracking a target ends up in an acting class. Falling in love with it, he sees the possibility of a new life, but getting out of the business will be much harder than he thought. This show could have easily overplayed its hand but keeps the humor constant and subtle while hitting every other note right.
One of the things I loved about PULP FICTION is how it humanized criminals instead of making them 2D villains. In an opening scene, here are two murderous henchmen of a mob boss talking about what they call a Big Mac in Holland and whether a foot massage is technically cheating. You end up finding them charming, and the juxtaposition is often humorous. A lot of movies have tried to imitate this cool but gratingly overplay it, as imitators often do. BARRY hits the mark even better than PULP FICTION in my view, offering truly likeable 3D characters and great humor without laying it on too thick.
Otherwise, the show hits every other note just right–the portrayal of hungry and needy aspiring actors, acting itself, the action–making it a lot of fun to watch. The cast is terrific.
I have to add one of the highlights of the show is Henry Winkler. I’ve seen him in a few things after his iconic role of Fonzie in HAPPY DAYS but have never seen him have as much fun as he’s obviously having in the role of Gene, Barry’s acting teacher. He chews the scenery every time he’s on screen, and I love it.
A recommended watch. No heavy lifting, just fun comedy. On to season 2, and looking forward to season 3 once they can start shooting again.