Proving that there’s no such thing as too much Paul Rudd is Living With Yourself, Netflix’s new comedy-drama. Miles (Rudd) is a jaded advertising exec whose marriage to Kate (Bea) is in a rut. On the recommendation of a thriving colleague he goes to a self-improvement spa and emerges a better man. He also, unfortunately, emerges as the same man. Both Miles’ – and Kate – are forced to deal with the unexpected side-effects of accidentally getting yourself cloned, especially when the clone is so much better at your life than you are.
It’s a fun concept, and one which the show runs with, especially when both Miles’ are sharing the screen. However, Greenberg struggles with momentum, and the series frequently backs up on itself and recaps what we’ve already seen. It tends to focus on one Miles per episode, perhaps out of a fear that the audience would get confused otherwise about who’s who, but that ends up giving the show a frustratingly choppy quality.
The series is also, appropriately, having something of an identity crisis regarding whether it’s a comedy or a drama. We would have liked to see it either really dig into the comedy potential of the situation, glimpsed in some of the show’s more surreal scenes, or fully grapple with the existential questions that the concept throws up.
It’s a shame, because Rudd is clearly capable of both versions of this story. Viewers are no stranger to his comedy chops or his intense on-screen likability – which is admirably stripped back in the unmotivated Original Miles – but his dramatic performance here is likely to surprise some people. It’s a great portrayal of two distinct characters, who share memories but not personalities. He has an easy and believable chemistry with Bea, an actor who is also equally adept at drama and comedy, and who is thankfully given a lot more to do in the second half of the series.
There is a great show in here somewhere, which a Season 2 might find. But this is the Rudd Show, and for that it’s worth the four hours of your time.