Killing it: 'Only Murders in the Building' a whip-smart, wryly observational gem - Albuquerque Journal

Killing it: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ a whip-smart, wryly observational gem

Mabel (Selena Gomez), Oliver (Martin Short) and Charles (Steve Martin) in a scene from “Only Murders in the Building,”(Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

It’s always pretty cool when they have one of those all-star, multigenerational sessions at the Kennedy Center Honors or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony or the Grammys, with pop/rock/soul pioneers from the 1960s and 1970s jamming with musicians half their age. They come from different generations and different worlds, but what they have in common is a love for what they do – and of course they can all play.

We get the acting equivalent of that in the 10-part Hulu comedy/drama crime series “Only Murders in the Building,” a whip-smart and wryly observational gem starring longtime amigos and frequent collaborators, the 76-year-old Steve Martin and the 71-year-old Martin Short, who are as sharp and funny and brilliant as we’d expect them to be. The two comedic legends are joined by Selena Gomez in what turns out to be inspired casting. The 29-year-old Gomez is a true co-star in the series and does a superb job of meshing with Martin and Short to form one of the more entertaining albeit unlikely friendship trios in recent memory. They’re just a ball to watch together.

The tone is set for “Only Murders” in the opening credits sequence, which looks like a series of New Yorker covers turned to animation. Martin (who co-created the series with John Hoffman) plays Charles Hayden-Savage, who had a long and lucrative run as “Detective Brazzos” on a TV crime show in the 1990s but hasn’t worked much since. Short is Oliver Putnam, a pompous theater director who had some hits back in the day but is best known for his notorious flop, “Splash! The Musical,” which had a disastrous opening when the hydraulics designed to open the stage and reveal a gigantic swimming pool failed – and the unwitting chorus dancers wound up landing with one splat after another on the stage. (Chorus dancers tend to blindly follow one another, Oliver notes.) Gomez is Mabel, a quirky loner who is haunted by her past.

They all live in the Arconia, a posh Manhattan co-op, but they don’t really know one another until a fire alarm evacuates the building and they wind up sitting at the same table in a restaurant across the street – and all three turn out to be huge fans of the sensational hit true-crime podcast “All Is Not OK in Oklahoma” (the host is played by Tina Fey in a fantastic extended cameo). When it’s revealed a young man named Tim Kono has been found shot dead in his apartment in the Arconia, the police quickly rule it a suicide – but Charles, Oliver and Mabel think it could be murder, and they decide to team up to investigate the crime, and, of course, chronicle their adventures in their very own podcast.

Let the high jinks begin, with twists and turns around every corner. Mabel is the best investigator of the bunch, coming up with some great clues and key pieces of evidence, while Oliver is more concerned with reviving his career as the producer of the podcast, with Charles as the narrator and Oliver giving him notes such as, “(This sounds) like a Ken Burns documentary on the history of boredom.”

Meanwhile, the Arconia is filled with colorful characters who might also be suspects, including Sting in a wonderfully self-effacing turn as, well, Sting; Nathan Lane as a chicken-wrap mogul who has bankrolled a number of Oliver’s stage productions and is now the sponsor of the podcast, and Amy Ryan as a bassoonist and possible love interest for Charles, who has been alone for many years.

The title of the series comes from an exchange when it’s learned there’s been a murder in the park and perhaps the podcast should expand to include that crime, but the trio decides the series must be about “only murders in the building.” That kind of deadpan humor runs throughout the series, but there are also moments of genuine emotion and heart, as we learn the backstories of all three main characters. True, they didn’t meet under the best circumstances, but these were three lonely souls who found each other at just the right time – and now they’re podcast buddies, and maybe even crime-solvers as well.

Home » Entertainment » Killing it: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ a whip-smart, wryly observational gem

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Film shines a light on the importance, history of ...
ABQnews Seeker
On Saturday, Jan. 28, 'Acequias: The ... On Saturday, Jan. 28, 'Acequias: The Legacy Lives On,' will premiere at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
2
Pojoaque alums present anti-pest product on ABC reality show ...
ABQnews Seeker
At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, ... At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, the Pojoaque High School alums will take their product called Slick Barrier to 'Shark Tank', which airs on ...
3
'Shrinking' actor Luke Tennie hopes series helps viewers deal ...
ABQnews Seeker
'Shrinking,' starring Luke Tennie, Harrison Ford ... 'Shrinking,' starring Luke Tennie, Harrison Ford and Jason Segal, premieres on Friday, Jan. 27, on Apple TV+.
4
Comedian Bill Maher brings his live comedy show to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Though he's seen on TV more ... Though he's seen on TV more today, Bill Maher's roots remain in stand-up comedy. He will make a stop in Albuquerque on Saturday, Jan. ...
5
Blvck Hippie brings rhythmic riffs and deep lyrics to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Blvck Hippie is set to share ... Blvck Hippie is set to share experiences and moments with the Albuquerque crowd.The ac ...
6
Unparalleled level of creativity, quality make Sazón a singular ...
ABQnews Seeker
Sazón chef Fernando Olea was named ... Sazón chef Fernando Olea was named the James Beard Award's 'Best Chef of the Southwest' in 2022.
7
'Turn-of-the-century' duo Son of Town Hall bring music, theater ...
ABQnews Seeker
Son of Town Hall will perform ... Son of Town Hall will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales.
8
Turtle Mountain North celebrates first year with gala event
ABQnews Seeker
Turtle Mountain North First Anniversary Feast ... Turtle Mountain North First Anniversary Feast features a six course pairing menu.
9
Legendary country star Clint Black to play Kiva Auditorium
ABQnews Seeker
Clint Black has been on tour ... Clint Black has been on tour with his wife, Lisa Hartman Black and daughter, Lily Pearl on the “Mostly Hits & the Mrs. Tour,” ...
10
Subtronics bringing amped up live performance to Revel
ABQnews Seeker
Subtronics, aka Jesse Kardon, brings his ... Subtronics, aka Jesse Kardon, brings his “Antifractals” tour Albuquerque on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Revel Entertainment Center.