We were curious how the trio of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, who feature in the new Hulu series Only Murders In The Building, would mesh with the third star, Selena Gomez.
We weren’t concerned about Martin taking on a regular written series role for the first time in his long career because a) he’ll be accompanied by his pal Short, and 2) he was one of the guys who helped bring this concept to existence.
But what about Gomez? Working against the former Disney star with these two aging pros could have been a disaster.
However, it was a complete success on multiple levels. Hence, we at BuzzPedia have brought you reasons to watch “Only Murders in the Building“.
Opening Shot: We hear police radios, then a SWAT team with automatic weapons storms into a high-rise apartment building.
Two older men sprint down the corridors, but one of them wants to go get their youthful friend. When they get to her flat, she is drenched in blood and kneeling over a body. She informs them, “It’s not what you think.”
The Gist: We heard three persons provide tales of their lives in New York when they walked into their apartment building two months prior.
Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), who starred in the long-running police procedural Brazos in the 1990s but hasn’t been seen much since. He’s identified by a young man who used to watch the show with his father, but the father, like most of the show’s followers, is near death.
A Broadway director, Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), adores the city because even long-time residents may expect the unexpected.
Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) used to enjoy Dateline and is trying to figure out how to avoid being on one of those shows if she, uh, stabs someone in the neck with a knife.
Even though Oliver and Charles have both lived in the building for over 25 years, they are strangers to each other. Oliver is chatty, Charles is silent, and Mabel wears her headphones almost the entire time. They notice a man in a business suit on the phone, demanding a parcel and holding a garbage bag when they’re in the elevator together.
One thing they have, though they may not realize it, is a passion for true crime podcasts, particularly those hosted by reporter Cinda Canning (Tina Fey). They’re all on the lookout for new episodes as soon as they’re released.
When the fire alarm goes off, and everyone rushes to evacuate, the three of them meet up at a neighboring restaurant and bond over their mutual love of Canning’s podcast.
When they return, they discover that someone has shot himself. They sneak onto the floor where Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) lives, and the gruesome scene leads them to believe he was murdered.
They set out to figure out who Kono was and why he was being hunted down. In addition, Charles and Oliver plan to turn this thing into a podcast called “Only Murders In The Building,” limiting their attention to, well, only murders that happen in the building.
What TV Shows Will It Make You Think Of? Only Murders In The Building is a lighthearted parody of true crime podcasts and their adoring audience, yet the series has the vibe of a classic humorous mystery like Clue or Knives Out.
The 10 episodes allow for a lot of character development, which creators Martin and John Hoffman, as well as their writing team, make use of.
Our reservations about Gomez bouncing off Short and Martin lasted only a few minutes; Only Murders In The Building turns out to be a funny, well-written, and occasionally emotional series that capitalizes on the strengths of all three stars, bringing an old-fashioned murder comedy into the twenty-first century.
By the end of the first episode, Gomez’s role as these two icons feels as natural as if she were in Three Amigos! with them 35 years ago.
The three have an easygoing rapport, with each of them assuming their initial archetypes: Charles is quiet and restrained, with oddities like preparing omelets that he promptly discards.
Oliver is the over-the-top showman who hides a lot of sadness beneath the surface, as we see when he tries to borrow money from his son Will once more (Ryan Broussard).
Mabel may appear to be a typical snarky millennial with little ambition, but she hides many secrets from Charles and Oliver, and her passion for solving the mystery of who killed Tim Kono is more than just a love of true crime.
We haven’t seen Martin in a while, but we admire his later-in-life determination to find humor in emotional events rather than broad, physical antics.
While he and Short aren’t as physically fit as they once were, they’re both so good at the more serious portions of their roles that it makes the comedy even funnier. And Gomez sticks right alongside them, correcting their lingo but more admiring the fact that these old men like the same things she does.
It also helps that Martin’s clout got the show, high-profile guests, like Fey and Nathan Lane, who plays Oliver’s deli owner neighbor and eventually sponsors the podcast.
And there’s a third significant guest star, who we won’t reveal here, but who, as soon as you see them, will make you laugh out loud owing to their utter craziness.
As previously stated, the ten-episode season allows the writers to delve deeper into all three of these characters’ inner lives and backstories, which adds to the story’s richness, particularly when Charles’ perpetually single neighbor Jan (Amy Ryan) or Mabel’s old friend Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) reappears in her life.
“Let’s face it: It’s sometimes simpler to figure out someone else’s secret than it is to deal with your own,” Charles says as we pan around Mabel’s aunt’s unfinished apartment, where we discover she has a rather large secret.
Da’Vine, the Sleeper Star Detective Williams, is played by Joy Randolph, who is rather amusing, especially when she says, “Enjoy your adorable little life, and be grateful you still have one, you goddamn true-crime fuckin’ numbnuts.”
STREAM IT is our call. We loved watching it and would recommend you to do the same today! It is funny and comfortable to watch, with the unusual three of Short, Martin, and Gomez functioning like a fine-tuned comedy machine almost as soon as their characters meet.
The show is available on Disney + Hotstar for you to watch, so what are you waiting for?
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Review: Only Murders In The Building Is A Hit-Or-Miss Murder Mystery