Your weekly streaming pick has arrived! We took a little break to flood you all with NYCC content, you’re welcome. Now back to our regularly scheduled updates. Living With Yourself is a Netflix original limited series starring Paul Rudd alongside Paul Rudd.
A curmudgeonly man goes to an exclusive spa to try and get a new outlook on life. A way more happy and enthusiastic version emerges on the other end. Literally. The original Miles Elliot (Paul Rudd) was tossed into a plastic bag and buried in the forest. The new and improved Miles (Paul Rudd) has all of the originals memories and feelings. It isn’t until they find each other that they realize something is wrong.
It’s an interesting concept for sure. Unfortunately for the first half of the very short season it feels like the creative talents behind the show weren’t exactly sure what to do. There is some sci-fi elements but they aren’t leaned into too heavily. There’s drama, yes. A few stand out moments aside the stakes never feel too real. Being a Paul Rudd vehicle we are expecting comedy. There’s levity in situations and some of his signature snark, but again, never fully committed to.
All is not bad in Living With Yourself. It wouldn’t be the streaming recommendation if it was. In the beginning the show banks entirely on Rudd’s charm as a well liked personality. As the show progresses the moving pieces move together slowly and through Rudd’s acting chops, more acting than we usually see him to honestly, it becomes something much better than it started at.
Living With Yourself is a Netflix Original Series
I mentioned that there is drama but it never feels like it’s committed to. As the story progresses that statement dissolves more and more. I’m happy to be wrong in this case, it just didn’t need to spend so much of the run time getting there. The questions the show asks are the most interesting.
Both versions of Miles want to be the ‘real’ one. But implying the other is fake just isn’t true. Both are human beings with thoughts, feelings, and memories. New Miles is actually a better version of the original though in subtle, believable ways. Some time is spent trying to come to terms with one having to abandon their life and take off but every-time a show-ending decision would be made something happens to drag them back together.
Both Miles’s decide that new Miles should leave. They come to an agreement but when their wife, Kate (Aisling Bea) calls that plan falls apart. New Miles has the same relationship with his wife as the original. He has all the memories and emotional attachment. This was one of the best scenes in the series since the call is so innocuous but the emotions really transfer through.
Because both versions of the already likable actor feel real you won’t be standing on firm ground at any point. Thinking New Miles is better at their job so maybe… wait original Miles is trying it’s just that his experiences… Oh, New Miles is really good at telling these stories with his wife and friends… Those stories belong to Old Miles and he used to be that social but life just beat him down. He didn’t have the benefit of rejuvenation. See what I mean?
Living With Yourself is a really interesting take on something that could have been dismissed as a tired prime time sitcom trope. The star power of Paul Rudd is necessary to make the show work but that doesn’t mean he isn’t earning your respect with his work. The supporting cast does a good job filling their roles but the Rudd on Rudd interactions are what it’s all about.