“Platonic: Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne Shine in this Effortless Buddy Comedy”

“Comfortable Comic Chemistry: ‘The Neighbors’ Stars Shine Anew in the Apple TV+ Series”

“Following the triumph of Ted Lasso, Apple TV+ is expanding its lineup with more charming comedies centered around middle-aged characters reflecting on their lives. Alongside Lasso, Loot, Shrinking, and The Big Door Prize, Platonic joins the roster, a light-hearted yet enjoyable comedy reuniting Neighbors co-stars Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen. Developed by Francesca Delbanco (Friends From College) and Neighbors director Nick Stoller, Platonic may seem ordinary if not for the undeniable charm of its leads. Byrne and Rogen effortlessly leverage their established comedic chemistry to deliver laughs, despite the somewhat thin premise.”

Former best friends Sylvia (played by Byrne) and Will (portrayed by Rogen) ceased communication five years ago due to a disagreement about Will’s then-fiancée, Audrey (played by Alisha Wainwright). Upon discovering news of Will’s divorce via Instagram, Sylvia, urged by her supportive husband Charlie (played by Luke Macfarlane), decides to reconnect. Their initial meeting at a coffee shop is awkward, but a night out drinking reignites their friendship, providing a much-needed distraction for both. Sylvia, now with her youngest child in kindergarten, questions her decision to prioritize motherhood over her law career. Meanwhile, Will, a brewmaster at an L.A. pub, faces pressure from his business partners Andy (played by Tre Hale) and Reggie (portrayed by Andrew Lopez) to make a deal with a tasteless restaurant chain owned by a wealthy mogul (played by Ted McGinley).

Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen in "Platonic," premiering May 24, 2023 on Apple TV+.

At first glance, “Platonic” appears to delve into the age-old debate of whether straight men and women can truly be friends. The nods to “When Harry Met Sally” and the line, “You can only be friends with a woman if she’s not hot,” seem to hint at this familiar trope. However, thankfully, Stoller and Delbanco swiftly move away from this tired premise and instead explore the fresh angle of building a buddy comedy around friends of the opposite sex. Freed from any romantic tension or past relationships, Will and Sylvia provide each other with the freedom to embrace their true selves, engaging in the kind of carefree and silly antics that many of us leave behind as we grow older. From Sylvia helping Will bleach his hair blonde (with humor about the burning sensation) to Will stepping in to rescue Sylvia from a disastrous real estate deal by posing as her contractor, and their shared escapades of getting day drunk and riding rental scooters, their friendship blossoms in unexpected and delightful ways.

“Platonic” maintains its light-hearted and low-stakes atmosphere, although mild tensions arise as others in Will and Sylvia’s lives express understandable concerns about their unconventional relationship. Charlie, Sylvia’s husband, articulates this sentiment, noting, “It’s like their friendship excludes everybody, including me.” As the story progresses, Sylvia and Will gently guide each other toward important realizations about why their lives feel stagnant. However, the primary focus of “Platonic” remains on showcasing the remarkable chemistry between its leads. Both Byrne and Rogen excel in their roles, clearly enjoying the opportunity to banter and tease each other like playful siblings. Byrne infuses Sylvia’s typically reserved demeanor with a sparkling playfulness, while Rogen brings his trademark sunny disposition even to the darkest humor. For instance, he delivers a joke with a cheerful tone: “Tell that to Mel Gibson. Literally, you have to tell him, because he will not talk to Jewish people.”

However, even with the charm of its stars, sustaining 10 episodes of casual humor can be a challenge. “Platonic” occasionally struggles to maintain momentum, and there are moments where it feels like the creators, Stoller and Delbanco, are grasping for storylines, resulting in some forced and contrived scenarios – such as Will and Sylvia’s frantic attempt to repair a defaced painting. Throughout the season, there’s a lack of substantial character development or profound insights beyond the obvious observation that friendships between men and women can be as complicated as romantic relationships.

Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that not every comedy series needs to deliver a profound message. “Platonic” prioritizes entertainment value over depth, aiming to provide viewers with a lighthearted and enjoyable experience. In the end, the show’s primary goal is to offer some fun, and in that regard, it succeeds.

“Platonic” debuts on Wednesday, May 24th, exclusively on Apple TV+.

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