Critical Condition: Black Monday

Black Monday | SoHo2, 8.30 Thursday

☆☆☆☆ “Because we have seen so many takes on the go-go ’80s Wall Street scene, from The Bonfire of the Vanities to Boiler Room to The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s tempting to think we’ve seen every conceivable version of what happens in that bloodthirsty Serengeti of global commerce. Not so. Black Monday, a sort of stoner comedy executive produced by Seth Rogen, dares to ask the absurd question nobody else thought to ask: What if Wall Street met Revenge of the Nerds?” — TV Guide.

☆☆☆The show is just the latest in a wave of diverse capitalist satire sweeping film (see: Sorry to Bother You, The Big Short) and television created by–and intended for an audience of–Gen X-ers and millennials … Black Monday makes the realm of high finance look pretty pathetic. Investment-banker characters that might have been aspirational figures for baby boomers in the prosperous ’80s mostly come off as petty jerks or immature nerds.” — Time.

☆☆☆ “Less a comedy and more a contest to see who can make the most 1980s jokes, Showtime’s Black Monday would be better if it would just slow down. … There’s so much going on that it’s difficult to separate Black Monday’s sharpest moments from its constant throwaway lines. Cleverness appears in each of the first three episodes, only to be drowned out by all the frantic energy and half-attempts at humour that smother it.” — Washington Post.

☆☆The barrage of period allusions functions as a connective tissue binding the disjointed parts of Black Monday, which tries to stitch together an over-the-top comedy of the go-go ’80s and a tut-tutting, cautionary morality tale, fitted out with appropriate music, fashions and hairstyles. What it doesn’t supply is an actual feel for the period, or a coherent point of view about it, or anything more than clichés for the show’s talented stars to play.” — New York Times.

☆☆☆ “It’s hard to imagine that a half-hour comedy set on Wall Street with Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells in major parts could go off the rails so quickly and spectacularly, but Black Monday does just that. And that’s even before you factor in Regina Hall giving arguably the best performance in the bunch. Which means that if you’re looking for a culprit here, you should circle back — as is often the case — to the writing. And in this instance, probably the overall direction and tone of the series, too.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

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