Stream It Or Skip It: ‘High Fidelity’ On Hulu, Where Zoë Kravitz Plays Nick Hornby’s List-Making, Brokenhearted Record Store Owner

Once we heard that there was going to be a TV reboot of Excessive Constancy, with Zoë Kravitz within the function John Cusack made well-known 20 years (!) in the past, we have been excited. We thought that we have been due for an replace of Nick Hornby’s novel about heartbreak as instructed by means of one individual’s music preferences, although we dwell in a world the place individuals don’t even actually personal bodily media anymore. And Kravitz appeared to be individual to take over the function of Rob. However did we get one thing really made for 2020? Discover out extra…

Opening Shot: We see the face of a lady, tearing up, who says, “My desert-island, all-time, high 5, most memorable heartbreaks, in chronological order…”

The Gist: Rob Brooks (Zoë Kravitz) is giving this checklist within the midst of her boyfriend, Russell “Mac” McCormack (Kingsley Ben-Adir) packing his stuff and leaving for London after breaking apart together with her. Mac is now quantity 5 on the checklist, his departure is that devastating to Rob. She thinks they will get again to the place they have been, be on “the opposite aspect of the rock,” she says, recalling a time the place they heard a pair preventing on the opposite aspect of a rock within the park, however Mac simply desires to go and get issues over with.

A 12 months later, after not having intercourse since Mac’s breakup, Rob talks on the cellphone together with her brother Jackson (Rainbow Francks) and his spouse Nikki (Nadine Malouf), and tells him, unenthusiastically, that she’s happening a date. She sits at a bar with a vest-wearing dude named Clyde (Jake Lacy), and she or he’s so bored that she decides to ditch him. However she has to come back again to the bar as a result of she forgot her cellphone, and their mutual love of Fleetwood Mac (Rob goes into chapter and verse about why Rumors isn’t her favourite F-Mac album) helps the date decide up. They sleep collectively, however she’s once more pissed when he leaves the subsequent morning as an alternative of getting breakfast together with her like he talked about.

That is when Rob, who owns a file retailer in Brooklyn, goes over her high 5 heartbreaks: childhood crush Kevin Bannister (Clark Furlong), who dumped her hours later; Kat Monroe (Ivanna Sakhno), whom Rob by no means felt cool sufficient to hold with, and wasn’t Kat’s kind, anyway; Simon Miller (David H. Holmes), who utterly “acquired” Rob, however turned out to be homosexual — they’re nonetheless nice pals and he works on the file retailer; douchey comic Justin Equipment (Justin Silver), who wasn’t almost as thrilling when he not had a girlfriend. Then there’s Mac, whom she actually thought was the one.

The file retailer in some way fell into Rob’s lap; now in her 30s, she undoubtedly regrets the shapelessness of her ambition to that time. However she loves music and loves hanging out within the retailer with Simon and Cherise (Da’Vine Pleasure Randolph), who may match on the retailer however appears to be extra inclined to rock out to Dexy’s Midnight Runners and berate/sexually harass a good-looking buyer who Shazams the track that’s enjoying as an alternative of, you understand, asking somebody about it.

Rob actually thinks she’s carried out with courting, however then Clyde reveals up and explains that he left instantly as a result of his automobile was towed, and introduced her the breakfast he promised; oh, and we additionally discover out why she confirmed as much as the date with Clyde with an injured hand, as a consequence of being distracted after operating into somebody particular to her on the way in which to the date.

Picture: Phillip Caruso/Hulu

Our Take: We didn’t hate Excessive Constancy. In reality, as huge followers of Hornby’s novel and the 2000 John Cusack/Jack Black movie (which additionally stared Kravitz’s mom, Lisa Bonet), we thought that there was a whole lot of benefit in gender-flipping Rob’s character and transferring the scene to modern-day New York. Kravitz, an govt producer together with Hornby and present creators Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka, does a reputable job of creating Rob her personal. She performs Rob way more quietly than Cusack did (and he wasn’t super-high-key) and surprisingly a bit extra sad-sacky. However it works, as a result of we have to imagine that somebody who seems to be like Kravitz can’t get her romantic shit collectively, and doesn’t actually have her life collectively, both, and she or he sells that properly.

What we’re unsure is what this up to date model actually has to say that the novel and film didn’t say already. The ebook was written at a time when vinyl was lifeless, mixtapes have been nonetheless king, and other people have been obsessed over which bands have been cool and which weren’t. By the point the film got here out, mixtapes turned to combine CDs, Napster was beginning up and vinyl was nonetheless lifeless. However the film labored as a result of it nonetheless spoke to how Gen Xers like Rob determine themselves by what they take heed to and what they like.

Now, vinyl is on the upswing amongst purists (although that doesn’t clarify how Rob’s retailer stays in enterprise with no prospects and an costly Manhattan lease), however the thought of “what you want is extra essential than what you might be like,” as Simon tells Rob isn’t actually one thing that millennials determine with that a lot, at the least in relation to music. Everybody has their playlists and the stuff they wish to stream within the automobile. Individuals can nonetheless be rabid followers of bands. However nobody makes use of that as a badge of excellent style anymore; they’re too busy taking footage of their dinner for the ‘Gram than worrying about bands. So it feels that Excessive Constancy nonetheless has that Gen X viewpoint although the characters are all firmly within the subsequent era.

So the present nonetheless has a really mid-to-late-’90s really feel in a whole lot of methods, particularly in relation to Rob’s to-the-camera high 5 monologuing. It’s not a method that’s in favor now, as a result of individuals like being into the story, not having the fourth wall always damaged (although admittedly Fleabag is among the few present that makes it work). It was progressive 20 years in the past, not a lot now.

What we’d have appreciated was a very refreshed model of Excessive Constancy, one that actually examined being a 30-something in New York with out having a lot course in life or love, as an alternative of only a gender-flipped redo of 25-year-old materials.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: We see Rob and Mac having some actually romantic horny instances in a flashback, and when Rob will get off the bed with Clyde she’s topless, but when there was something to see it was obscured by darkness, hair and different issues.

Parting Shot: Rob, nonetheless feeling down, sits in her chair, listens to “I Can’t Stand The Rain” by Ann Peebles, and smokes a joint. We push in on her because the credit begin rolling.

Sleeper Star: Jake Lacy has principally been “boring white dude” in varied reveals, together with the final season of The Workplace, for the final decade. So he’s acquired a thankless process enjoying Clyde, the seemingly most conventional individual in Rob’s world. It’ll be attention-grabbing to see how issues with them proceed going ahead.

Most Pilot-y Line: It really seems like Rob, Simon and Cherise hates any music created after 1995 or so. We imagine that they like older music, however they don’t like something newish?

Our Name: STREAM IT, principally due to Kravitz’s magnetic presence. However the present feels extra like a nostalgia journey than one thing new and contemporary.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about meals, leisure, parenting and tech, however he doesn’t child himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared within the New York Instances, Slate, Salon, VanityFair.com, Playboy.com, Quick Firm.com, RollingStone.com, Billboard and elsewhere.

Stream Excessive Constancy On Hulu

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