Gumshoe Gumballs (Film Review: “Handsome: A Netflix Original Mystery”)

handsome poster

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Netflix does it again. Handsome: A Netflix Murder Mystery is funny, self mocking and giggly. Think of it as a cross between Columbo and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

SnapShot Plot

Handsome: A Netflix Murder Mysterydirected by and starring the quintessential shaggy dog himself, Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm; The Goldbergs), skips straight out of the gate with a slick Steven Weber emerging from a pool in the Hollywood hills, and winking to the camera, identifies himself as the murderer in a gruesome butchering on his front lawn. With one smarmy smile, the entire mood and tone of this genial and absurdist comedy is set in motion and it’s time to settle in and let each weird and wacky character work his magic.

Garlin plays Gene Handsome, a middle-aged and lonely homicide detective whose most personal relationships are with his huge Dalmatian dog, Cindy, and his randy, wisecracking partner, Detective Fleur Scozzari (deliciously played by Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne.) He is surrounded by eccentric and dimwitted colleagues, and the cast is rounded out by his bizarre police lieutenant, played by none other than Amy Sedaris, who hilariously chews up the scenery in the few scenes in which she appears.

When Handsome learns that he’s got a new neighbor next door (a single mother and her young daughter) he walks over to introduce himself and meets instead the sultry but bitchy babysitter. When she becomes the focus in a gruesome murder, Handsome and Scozzari must sift through the strange evidence and individuals around the case, uncovering the dangerous self-absorption at the heart of celebrity and discovering the difference between lotion and cream. Oh, and the definition of Finery. Trust me.



Parting Shot

I smell a series here, depending on whether Netflix does well enough with this quirky procedural comedy to renew it for an episodic run. There’s plenty of room for these characters to continue amusing its audience, making for a relaxing and delightful departure from more serious or thought-provoking fare. Just as Garlin’s character in ABC’s The Goldbergs comes home each day from work and removes his pants, settling onto the couch to watch TV in his boxer shorts, Handsome: A Netflix Murder Mystery is that kind of show where you can just relax and let the laughs roll over you, whether or not you’re even wearing pants.


Handsome: A Netflix Original Mystery is currently streaming on, what else, Netflix!

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