‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ review: Nicole Kidman checks in with a ‘Big Little Lies’ mini-reunion as ‘The White Lotus’ checks out
With a mini-reunion of essential gamers from “Big Little Lies” at its core, “Nine Perfect Strangers” integrates a book by Liane Moriarty with Nicole Kidman and writer-producer David E. Kelley, then surrounds them with a similarly excellent cast. The series is another among those riddles covered in a secret, handling to stimulate interest while staying stingy about disgorging huge facts, much less little lies.
In a manner, the program has the bad luck of premiering so near to “The White Lotus,” another minimal series constructed around the vibrant in between visitors and personnel at a high-end resort. The distinctions are substantial adequate to accommodate both, even if the listings provide among those suggestions that in peak TELEVISION really original-sounding ideas are less and further in between.
The primary difficulty the program deals with, possibly, is among expectations, given that it doesn’t determine up to the abovementioned series. The basic conceit includes a group of visitors (9, as it takes place) reaching a special health-and-wellness retreat, which guarantees them a transformational experience in simply 10 days.
Pulling the strings is the center’s enigmatic director, Masha (Kidman), whose intentions and strategies are every bit as tough to figure out as the origins of her accent. The complete strangers might barely appear more various, however in hushed whispers, it’s kept in mind that Masha basically casts each group, recommending some greater reasoning at work – or even worse, an unusual rats-in-a-maze experiment.
Nicole Kidman and Samara Weaving in the Hulu drama ‘9 Perfect Strangers’ (Vince Valitutti/Hulu)
Each visitor harbors some sort of trick, from the author (Melissa McCarthy) to the reporter (Luke Evans), the separated female with anger concerns (Regina Hall) to the previous professional athlete (Bobby Cannavale), the 4 solo guests. Include a household (Michael Shannon, Asher Keddie, Grace Van Patten) grieving the death of their son/brother, and a couple (Samara Weaving, Melvin Gregg) whose outside charm masks concealed insecurities.
The visitors press back to differing degrees versus the routine that Masha has in shop for them, a mix of new-age therapy and deprivation, seemingly developed as a spiritual, psychic and physical clean. Yet there are early musings by the little personnel that the most recent arrivals may be especially flammable, raising concerns regarding whether the owners can manage the wheels they’ve set in movement.
The most basic thread connecting this show to “White Lotus” is rich-people problems, and the not-so-subtle message that having a lot clearly isn’t the same as having it all when it comes to happiness.
While the plot advances slowly, the writing compensates for that by spreading around meaty material for the actors in this adult summer camp, no little feat in this sort of exercise.
In the balance “Nine Perfect Strangers” doesn’t achieve perfection, but it is both pretty strange and reasonably compelling. That doesn’t add up to the compulsive binge that “Big Little Lies” or “White Lotus” provided, but as TV’s version of summertime leaves go, it’s not a bad journey.
“Nine Perfect Strangers” premieres Aug. 18 on Hulu.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.