Michael (Neil Patrick Harris), 50, is a real estate agent specializing in the sale of luxury apartments in New York. After 17 years together with her boyfriend, Colin, he suddenly gets dumped. “Believe me you don’t want to be gay and single in this town at our age: we’re invisible!”, throws a friend at a social event in Manhattan. And yet, the hero will have to get used to it and somehow learn the new codes of flirting and dating, in the age of the internet and dating sites.
Available on the Netflix streaming platform since July 29, this co-creation by director Darren Star (Emily in Paris, Sex and the City, Younger) and Jeffrey Richman (Modern Family), owes much to the interpretation of Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother). The interpreter of the character of Michael delivers a charming performance, with a light but sparkling humor and a touch of touching sensitivity.
The script, hackneyed but still effective, reminds us of one of Darren Star’s first successes, the series Sex and the City, less straight. The early 2000s series depicted the romantic and sexual relationships of four wealthy New York friends in a fantasy Manhattan. And like his reboot And Just Like That… last year, Uncoupled returns to the social pressure of single people, divorce and celibacy in the fifties.
We therefore find the same dialogues between friends, the same posh evenings in golden New York and the same jazzy elevator music as in Sex and the City. The heroine Carrie Bradshaw, thirty years old, having a tumultuous relationship with a man nicknamed Mister Big, gives way to Michael and his ex-boyfriend Colin. Samantha becomes Billy, the inveterate seducer. As for the hero’s art gallery friend, Stanley, he is a perfect mix of Charlotte and Stanford Blatch. A few references to the series of the time are also perfectly assumed: the iconic high-heeled shoes Manolo Blahnik worn by Carrie were swapped for a pair of pumps stamped “Sarah Jessica Parker”, the interpreter of the New Yorker.
Like Carrie, Michael is surrounded by a group of fifty-something friends on whom he will be able to count. Uncoupled thus paints touching portraits, although a little cliché at times, of these secondary characters with lost hearts: Billy (Emerson Brooks), the weatherman chaining conquests, Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas), the disappointed romantic, Suzanne, the single mother dreading her son’s search for his biological father, and Claire Lewis, the somewhat intrusive wealthy New York client, left by her husband for a younger woman. The female characters, played by Tisha Campbell (My family first, Empire) and Marcia Gay Harden (CodeBlack) are particularly sparkling. The comic scenes – where we smile more than we laugh – owe them a lot.
Uncoupled does not revolutionize the genre, and addresses many current societal topics (gay dating application, sending dick pick (literally “penis photo”), protection against AIDS, male breast cancer) without really digging into them. Without being transcended, however, we let ourselves be seduced by this romcom 2.0, a sort of Sex and the City more current and inclusive and in tune with the times.
Uncoupled, available on Netflix. Not recommended for children under 13 years old.
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The “Uncoupled” series, light romcom, follows the love troubles of Neil Patrick Harris in a sour New York