What it’s about
Lisa and Sean Donovan, played by Jane Levy and Blake Jenner, are happily married but financially struggling in Mike Kelley’s new Netflix drama. Jane is desperate to obtain funding for her medical start-up and Sean dreams of joining the San Francisco Fire Department; the Donovans are stuck between a rock and and a hard place.
Then along comes diabolical investor, Anne Montgomery (Renee Zellweger). She’s offers to give Lisa the $80 million dollars she needs to get her company off the ground, in exchange for one night alone with Sean. Scandalous!
If you take this show at face value, it’s absolutely terrible. It’s over the top, cheesy, and the plot has more twists and turns than a garden hose. In other words, this show is as subtle as a brick to the face. Orchestral music will tell the audience when to cry and dramatic strings will signal upcoming intrigues. That said, the corny lines and labyrinthine plot twists are a loving homage to low-budget movies of the 90s. The characters even make a reference to this in the first episode.
You do not watch this show if you want nuance and nowhere is this more apparent than with the show’s main character, Anne Montgomery. Zellweger dives right into her character’s Jimmy Choos with relish. She steals the show with every scene she’s in, playing the obscenely wealthy and manipulative angel investor who casts villainous smirks at her man Friday and shoots literal arrows at people while delivering diabolical lines. She manages the ambitious feat of combining elegance and camp.
This show may be one of the worst things Netflix has released. But if you’re a fan of ’90s-style thrillers a la Basic Instinct, then this show is for you.
What/If Season 1 (9 episodes) is streaming on Netflix.