Length: 6 x episodes (22-30 minutes each)
Every human being currently living on this planet, or orbiting above it, has emotional baggage. Some of it may be banal, ordinary: fear of commitment, trust issues relating to an ex or just general anxiety about getting hurt. Other times, however?
That baggage can be downright scary.
Such is the case with Wolf Like Me, a brand spanking new thriller/rom-com with a leftfield twist that works a treat.
Wolf Like Me introduces us to Gary (Josh Gad), a widowed single father who is trying to raise his anxious 11-year-old daughter Emma (Ariel Donoghue) in suburban Adelaide. Gary’s also looking for love, but the few relationships he stumbles into are brief and unsatisfying.
Everything changes when, one day, Mary (Isla Fisher) runs into Gary. Literally. She smashes into him with her car and the pair begin an unlikely courtship. The problem, of course, is that both Gary and Mary are emotional wrecks.
Gary is still grieving for the loss of his wife to cancer seven years earlier and Mary? Well, Mary’s problems are, let’s say, a little hairier.
So, if you look at the (excellent) trailer for Wolf Like Me, the impression you’ll probably get is of a bittersweet dramedy with sharp writing, emotional moments and strong lead performances. And to be fair, all of that is true.
However there’s a major, MAJOR plot reveal missing from all the marketing materials that turns everything on its head. As seismic as the revelation Bruce Willis was a ghost in The Sixth Sense.
The problem with discussing movies or TV shows with big stakes-changing twists is, you need to walk the fine line between giving a taste of the tale and spoiling the big reveal. So, we’ll tread lightly, but Wolf Like Me is probably best enjoyed without any preconceived notions.
Suffice to say, the story told here is an engaging and brisk affair, brimming with nice character moments and good ideas. It’s a story of imperfect people struggling to find peace and contentment, even when that seems impossible.
Josh Gad, an actor known for being “a bit much” when he’s let off the leash, actually manages to deliver a pleasingly understated performance here. He’s a believably befuddled father and oddly endearing in a wounded sort of way.
Props are also due to Ariel Donoghue, who embodies the volatility of an emotionally charged tween very realistically. Naturally this means she’s not always the most pleasant character to watch, but parents will no doubt recognise many of the behaviours.
The undisputed star of the show, however, is Isla Fisher. Usually relegated to smaller comedic roles, Wolf gives the Aussie actress the chance to fully embrace a leading pozzie, even if her American accent sounds a little non-specific.
Mary is at turns witty, seductive, wounded and wracked with guilt (about some seriously messed up stuff, just quietly) and Fisher rises to the challenge at every moment. Hopefully this will lead to more main roles because she absolutely has the chops.
All six episodes of Wolf Like Me are written and directed by Abe Forsythe (Down Under, Little Monsters) and having a singular voice telling the tale makes the whole thing feel pleasingly consistent and focused.
In fact, the impression one gets is that Wolf Like Me started off life as a feature film script that was adapted into a short telly series, which is not a bad thing at all when the result is this enjoyable.
Wolf Like Me is an agreeable yarn with a clever genre-bending twist. It features two superb lead performances from two underrated actors and is put together by another underrated talent.
With The Tourist and Gold, Stan has been absolutely knocking it out of the park of late and Wolf Like Me is yet another example of quality, homegrown content that will have you howling for more.
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