Blockbuster Is Not A Laugh-Out-Loud Comedy

(L to R) Melissa Fumero as Eliza, Randall Park as Timmy in Blockbuster. Photo credit: Ricardo Hubbs/Netflix © 2022.

While the idea behind Blockbuster is funny, the comedy series itself is not the laugh-out-loud comedy that audiences were expecting.

I went into this series wanting to enjoy it. Upon watching the series in the course of two different sittings, I wish I could say that I did. It’s a ten-episode half hour comedy series. I’m wondering if this is the sort of show that works better on broadcast with a longer series order. It’s one thing to develop characters over a longer full season. Ten episodes isn’t always enough. That’s not to say that it cannot be done–see Only Murders in the Building. However, murder mysteries are different than workplace comedies. On paper, this is a workplace comedy but then they decide to add a little bit of romance to it. By trying to force a workplace romance, it takes the focus away from the idea of what makes a Blockbuster series funny.

Timmy Yoon (Randall Park) has his work cut out when he learns that his Michigan store is the last Blockbuster in America. You read that right, sorry, Bend! He’s been working at Blockbuster since his teen years and he knows what people need to watch before they even ask him. On the other end of the court is Eliza Walker (Melissa Fumero). Harvard didn’t work out and while she started up her own company, all roads led her back to work for Blockbuster. Timmy has a crush on Eliza but she’s married with a child. To be fair, her marriage isn’t in the best place. Again, the series is basically forcing this on the viewers when it does not need to do so. There’s certainly enough comedic potential alone without needing to add romance into the mix.

Timmy has some grand ideas when it comes to saving their store. It also means relying on digital technology to drive interest to the store. In a world where people can stay at home and watch movies and TV on Netflix, Disney+, etc., why should they go to Blockbuster and rent a movie? There’s some irony in Blockbuster streaming on Netflix and they should have played this up more! Some of the employees include Connie Serrano (Olga Merediz), Carlos Herrera (Tyler Alvarez), Hannah Hadman (Madeleine Arthur), and Kayla Scott (Kamaia Fairburn). Kayla just happens to be Percy Scott’s (JB Smoove) son. Percy owns the party store at the strip mall but since he’s best friends with Timmy, he’s frequently stopping by the store.

There’s a lot coming out this weekend let alone this month. Unfortunately, Blockbuster doesn’t need to be as high on the priority list. Of course, with my mindset of late, I wanted a laugh-out-loud comedy but it did not do the job.

DIRECTORS: Paymen Benz (101, 102, 106, 108), Aleysa Young (103, 104), Katie Locke O’Brien (105, 107), Jackie Clarke (109, 110)
WRITERS: Vanessa Ramos (101), Leila Strachan (102), Vanessa Ramos & Jackie Clarke (103), Bridger Winegar (104), Rachel Pegram (105), Francisco Cabrera-Feo (106), Brandon James Childs (107), Jackie Clarke & Tristan Bailey (108), Bridger Winegar & Elizabeth Kim (109), Vanessa Ramos & Mary Nguyen (110)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Vanessa Ramos, Jackie Clarke, David Caspe, John David, and John Fox
CAST: Randall Park, Melissa Fumero, Tyler Alvarez, Madeleine Arthur, Olga Merediz, JB Smoove, Kamaia Fairburn

Netflix launches Blockbuster on November 3, 2022. Grade: 3/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.