A star-studded interracial cringe comedy, a raw portrait of a ‘90s cultural icon, and a J.Lo-headlined action-comedy are a few of this month’s most anticipated original streaming titles.
Starts Jan. 27:
In this much-anticipated cringe comedy co-written by and starring Jonah Hill, he plays a lonely guy with a unlucky history in love—until he meets-cute with a Black female motorist he mistakes for his Uber driver. Endeavoring to make up for his error, he takes her to lunch, which sparks a connection and ultimately a romance. Everything is going swimmingly until he meets her parents, avowed Muslims led by radical paterfamilias Eddie Murphy, who have some different, let’s just say, worldviews from his own Jewish parents (David Duchovny and Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Starting with its title, Hill and co-writer/director Kenya Barris’ savage comedy seems unafraid to explore the cultural, religious and generational rifts still dividing us in post-woke 21st century America.
Starts Jan. 31:
Pamela, A Love Story
Pamela Anderson has been in the public eye for at least her entire adult life, often in ways that betrayed her consent. All the while, she’s been held up (and judged) in the media as a sex symbol or cautionary tale more than a flesh-and-blood person. Rarely has she been given a feature-length platform to ruminate on her career with the rawness and honesty granted by director Ryan White in “Pamela, a Love Story,” a movie made with Anderson’s full collaboration and resources. No trailer has been posted yet, but we understand the movie will features candid interviews with Anderson in which few topics are off limits, bolstered by never-before-seen photographs and journal entries dating to her childhood.
Starts Jan. 13:
Not to be confused with the excellent 2014 neo-noir of the same name, this “Drop” is another uncomfortable comedy, this one executive-produced by two of the innovators of this genre, Mark and Jay Duplass. Anna Konkle and Jermaine Fowler play Lex and Mani, a happy young couple who take a break from running their Los Angeles bakery by vacationing with friends on a tropical island off the coast of Mexico. But as soon as they arrive, Lex, briefly tasked with holding her friend’s baby, drops the infant in front of everyone. (It could happen to anybody, right?) Discomfiting though it may be, “The Drop” is still a comedy, so presumably the baby makes out fine. As far as Lex and Mani, who were hoping to conceive a child on their Edenic getaway, this action puts their future plans in stark relief, reopening wounds they’d prefer to keep closed. “The Drop” marks the fourth feature film for writer-director Sarah Adina Smith.
ON AMAZON PRIME
Starts Jan. 27:
Director Jason Moore’s boisterous action-comedy “Shotgun Wedding” offers shades of last year’s “The Lost City,” which found Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum buddying it up while evading kidnappers in an exotic locale. This time, it’s Jennifer Lopez and husband-to-be Josh Duhamel in an equally tropical paradise (the movie was shot on Puerto Rico), only to find their idyllic destination nuptials crashed by terrorists bent on taking the entire wedding party hostage. Hilarity, explosions and unorthodox teamwork ensue, buoyed by a wonderful supporting cast including Sonia Braga, Lenny Kravitz, Cheech Marin and the always-terrific Jennifer Coolidge.
ON HBO MAX
It’s not an HBO original, and you can still catch it some theaters, but the streaming debut of this twisted class satire is well worth mentioning. Director Mark Mylod’s dark comedy lends a new meaning to the term “eat the rich.” It’s set on a private island, where a celebrity chef (a perfect Ralph Fiennes) has invited a small group of VIPs—among them a food critic, a washed-up actor and a group of frattish investors—to his posh and exclusive restaurant for the meal of a lifetime. But his guests soon find themselves captors to a sick evening of multicourse deviltry. While skewering both the cultish reverence with which chefs are viewed by this country’s upper crust, as well as the gullibility of our cloistered elite, Mylod orchestrates one truly shocking moment after another. Like a marvelous meal, it sticks with you.