Now Streaming: THE CONSULTANT, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Brittany O'Grady, Nat Wolff, and Christolph Waltz star in the deranged comic horror series, debuting on Prime Video.
Some jobs are difficult to explain.
The series is now streaming on Prime Video. I've seen all eight episodes.
After a shocking event leaves the head of a mobile-games company dead, work friends Elaine (Brittany O'Grady) and Craig (Nat Wolff) are scrambling to find their next jobs when Regus Patoff (Christoph Waltz) strides through the front doors.
His business-suited attire, crisp manner, and a signed contract show that he has been hired by their dead boss to consult, which no one can quite comprehend. Yet, their paychecks arrive on time, so everyone goes back to work, even though the new consultant immediately begins sniffing every employee, with the intention of firing anyone whose smell is not up to snuff.
It's the first in a very strange set of decisions that are made by Regus Patoff, who installs himself much like a newly-appointed concentration-camp commandant. The troops meekly obey: they need their jobs.
Except that Elaine and Craig are driven by a mutual desire to discover: who is this guy? And why does he have such trouble climbing a single flight of stairs?
Created and written by Tony Basgallop (Servant on Apple TV+), based on a novel by Bentley Little which was first published in 2016, The Consultant establishes a dark comic tone in its first episode, directed by Matt Shakman. From there, it wavers a bit steadily between that darkly comic tone, presenting uncomfortable situations that are recognizable for anyone who's worked in an office environment, and more sinister implications that are slyly suggested more than demonstrated.
Playing a literal 'stiff suit,' Christoph Waltz excels in exuding menace through his posture and demeanor. Is he a devil in a business suit? Or just a con man? He doesn't appear to be enriching himself, which leads to speculation about just what he is intended to represent, which is one of the things I like about the show.
Nat Wolff plays his character, Craig, as a runaway shaggy dog who knows that his days on the loose are numbered. He is living with and engaged to a woman named Patti (Aimee Carrero), who is defined by her Catholic faith. Craig, a non-religious sort, has agreed to become a Catholic to please Patti, but what he really wants to do is create a mobile-game hit. It appears that Regus Patoff will give him that opportunity, but what is he willing to do in exchange?
Brittany O'Grady easily steps up from supporting roles in the likes of Sophia Takal's Black Christmas and Mike White's The White Lotus to a lead role in the series, capturing her character's ambition to become more than an assistant creative liaison. What does she really want to do? And what is she willing to do to get there?
Over its eight episodes, all running a bit more than 30 minutes, the series errs on the side of weird and mysterious, rather than entirely logical and reasonable. The finale, directed by the great Karyn Kusama, races home, trampling consequences and leading to a fitting conclusion. It's like a great-tasting cake; maybe it's better not to know all the ingredients and how it was made?
Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.