The new romantic comedy PLATONIC, starring Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen, asks the age old question… can men and women really just be friends or is there always going to be romantic undertones. And while I won’t spoil whether the series makes a definitive statement on the matter, I can say that it is one of the best R-rated rom-com flavored series I have seen in a long time, reminding me of such gems as CATASTROPHE (Amazon) and YOU’RE THE WORST (FX now streaming on Hulu).
The series follows Sylvia (Byrne) and Will (Rogen), who were best friends but haven’t spoken in a long time after a rift develops in their relationship over Sylvia’s hatred of Will’s wife. However, when Sylvia sees on Instagram that Will is finally getting divorced, she decides to reconnect.
Sylvia has a wonderful life, with three kids and a doting husband…but she is bored. She used to have more edge and loved partying it up with Will. So she thinks reconnecting with him may add some more adult fun to her otherwise boring, stable life. Will, on the other hand, is also looking to recapture that fun he had in his life pre-marriage. But when the two’s rekindled friendship starts to consume an enormous portion of each other’s free time, their lives and relationships with those around them begin to change dramatically. Is this friendship good for both of them or is it feeding into a self-destructive spiral that is maybe the reason their relationship broke apart the first time?
Rose Byrne is one of my favorite actors and comediennes and for some odd reason, despite her knocking it out of the park in BRIDESMAIDS and SPY, she’s not given enough comedic roles. Thankfully, she is the star of this series and has a lot of brilliant comedic bits sprinkled throughout; my favorite of which occurs when she accidentally takes a muscle relaxer, thinking it is another recreational drug. I was almost on the floor laughing at her trying to walk and be “normal”. She is such a dynamic and talented actor, who brings so much to every role and is able to star in any genre. From dramas like DAMAGES to horror films like INSIDIOUS to broad comedies like BRIDESMAIDS and musicals like ANNIE, she can tackle any genre.
Seth Rogen is extremely underrated as a rom-com leading man and I think this series highlights that we need to see even more from him in this genre. THE LONG SHOT, with Charlize Theron, is one of my favorite rom-coms of the last two decades and his performance in PLATONIC reminded me a lot of that, a guy who is able to have a lot of raucous fun but still have a sensitive side and wear his heart on his sleeve. His chemistry with Byrne is off-the-charts compelling; so much so, in the few moments when they aren’t on-screen together you are waiting for the next time they will be.
The series is a quick watch, with ten episodes lasting just thirty minutes each. But Apple TV+ isn’t going to let you binge it all at once; their strategy is to release the first three episodes to whet your appetite and then have the episodes released weekly after that. I was lucky enough to receive all of the episodes and I think I watched them all over two days. The only reason I didn’t watch it in one sitting is because I tried to limit myself to have something to look forward to… you can see how long that lasted. I am hoping the series gets picked up for a second season, not only because I want to see what happens with Sylvia and Will’s friendship, but also because I can never get enough of having Byrne and Rogen on-screen in a comedy.
My Review: B+