Review by Brian Lowry, CNN
Odd and tense, “Candy” brushes up on Jessica Biel’s references as a limited crime series following her role as star producer on “The Sinner.” Here those two hats come into the service of an understated “Whydunit” true crime thread with all the trappings of a “Dateline” episode, which thankfully doesn’t exceed its five-episode welcome.
Produced for Hulu, Biel wears a Harpo Marx wig to play the title role of an unhappy housewife, Candy Montgomery, who began an affair, broke her own rules to avoid forming an emotional bond, and eventually became involved in a gruesome act which claimed one life and destroyed others.
Like “Fargo,” the small Texas town where it all took place is a character, a place where people hold grudges and live lives of quiet desperation while sitting with fake smiles next to those they love in the betrayed the church.
The victim, Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey, fresh out of “Yellowjackets”), is married to Allan (Pablo Schreiber), and their child and Candys are friends. It makes the series of events even more shocking and saddening when Betty is raising a baby and gets upset about how much her husband travels for work, telling him when they take in an unhappy foster child, “I can’t do that with another person.” deal with a house that doesn’t want to be here.”
Using a familiar device, Candy basically starts towards the end and then works backwards, depicting a community where everyone seems troubled for different reasons and a recreational volleyball team becomes the source of their own brand of mini-soap opera .
Candy comes with the requisite disclaimer, meaning liberties have been taken with the actual story, which feels even more obvious given the dark satirical tone that pulls off far better than something like the recent The Truth About Pam”. The performances, beginning with Biel and Lynskey, are sharp and compelling, and the unexpected twists and turns along the way make this one of those fact-based productions where the less you know, the better.
Given the popularity of murder and infidelity as the setting for true crime, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. Hulu will try to achieve this in part through its scheduling approach, releasing a new episode every day Monday through Friday, or what we used to call “television.”
Similarly, “Candy” doesn’t break new ground, but neither does it have to. Yes, it has plenty of company in this particular genre, but thanks to the leading actors, it’s a tastier treat than most.
Candy launches May 9th on Hulu.
The CNN Wire
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