Make the Right Choice with ‘The Wrong Mans’

/ Nov 12, 2013


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In one of the early scenes of Hulu’s original series “The Wrong Mans’,” co-protagonist Sam (Mathew Baynton) witnesses a cataclysmic car crash. The car spins out of control missing Sam by a hair. Sam stands stunned, hungover from a night of drinking, covered in snow, breathing hard. It’s clear, as it would be for the majority of us, that Sam has no idea what is going on, nor is he aware of the events that will soon unfold, the life-shattering events that will start the moment he picks up that ringing cellphone.

The setup is painfully similar to anyone raised on spy and action movies. The car and the cellphone are different, but at its core, the pieces are all there. Something happens, man is thrown into turmoil, he must save himself or someone else — primarily a female someone — before hamfisted thugs bury him in a cold, shallow grave. Like I said, we’ve seen it a million times, the pieces just rotate. Those pieces, though, the hooks that “The Wrong Mans’” hangs its story on, are brilliant. Yes, the premise is familiar, but even then there is something about it that’s different — and better.

We’ll start with the general relationship between Sam and his bumbling, brutally inept “sidekick” Phil (James Corden). If we were comparing “The Wrong Mans’” to a James Bond flick, then Phil would almost certainly be the Bond girl, which is amazing on multiple levels. Replacing the female (often sexy) counterpart with an overweight mail clerk is “The Wrong Mans”’ first step in subverting this genre. While the Bond girl often directed our gaze to a much more beautiful image than that of the occasionally brutal world of James Bond, Phil is a grim, constant reminder that things are ugly and getting uglier.

Next is the charisma Sam and Phil have, or in this case, don’t have. If Bond is all swaggering bravado, then Sam and Phil are, well, the total opposite. But that’s what makes this show so spectacular. When the world around them is deadly serious, Sam and Phil are not. They are terrified and they are spiraling out of control. Double-O these two are not. But that’s fine because this show wouldn’t be so funny and so irreverent if our heroes had their shit together.

All of this is to say, watch “The Wrong Mans,” buy Hulu if you have to, borrow a friend’s Plus account if that’s easier, or steal an access code from Armenian thugs. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. You won’t regret; that is unless criminals are holding your family hostage and you only have 24 hours to save them, then you may want to do that first. It’d still be a tough call, though.

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