Review: Welcome to Chippendales
The crime dramedy tale of Steve Banerjee, an Indian immigrant seeking the American dream, is chronicled in this true crime series laced with murder and sex. He builds the largest and first male strip joint, Chippendales, only to burn it down in less than ten years and wind up being an accessory to murder.
Kumail Nanjiani, Murray Bartlett, Annaleigh Ashford, Juliette Lewis
Welcome to Chippendales is already one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had in awhile, and will probably remain that way through 2023. A show that I thought looked insanely fun through its trailers and promotional material turned out to be a bore that I couldn’t bring myself to finish 3 episodes from the end.
The worst thing is that the show genuinely has a lot going for it.
All of the dance scenes are absolutely well choreographed and entertainingly shot, with the booming music and bright neon lights making for a visual treat that emulates perfectly how I imagine all of the performances looked in real life. That vibrance is carried throughout all the show’s cinematography, as it really bounces with that neon colour quite frequently thanks to so much of the show’s best sequences taking place inside of the clubs. The stand out scene of the miniseries was absolutely the musical number at the start of Episode Five, which was thoroughly entertaining and honestly excellently choreographed—my favourite scene of the show and the song has actually worked its way in to my head.
As well as that, I can’t understate some of the performances present here. Kumail Nanjiani is hard to pin-point because we’re so used to seeing him in comedic roles, and the show’s tone is a weird mix between being dramatic and comedic that doesn’t always land, which means sometimes his performance isn’t landing either. However, the real stand out is undoubtedly Murray Bartlett, who steals the show in every single scene he’s in. With an immensely charismatic performance that succeeds in being subtly sly and scary at the same time, I couldn’t help but love every time he was on screen.
The soundtrack rocks, too.
However, to put it plain and simple, the series is just painfully boring. There’s little-to-no reason to care about the majority of the characters here outside of their good performances, and it’s only worsened by the fact that they’re bad people and not portrayed as much for a lot of the show. That could change in the last 2 and a half episodes I couldn’t manage to get through, but by then it’s too late, and the show is much too uninteresting for me to care enough to get that far.
It just doesn’t feel like there’s that much substance behind some sound technical work, and not in a way in which there’s enough fun to be had that it doesn’t matter too much like some recent blockbuster TV shows and films, but in a way where it’s a struggle to watch 5 hours worth of a story that could’ve easily been a two hour movie.
It’s not an awful miniseries in terms of its filmmaking and performances, yet it’s lack of substance, entertainment value, and a scene that felt distasteful right at the end of the premiere make it truly one of the most boring and disappointing shows I’ve seen in a long time.