Mr. Schwarzenegger, I think it’s best to address you directly.
You are the “Terminator”. You are “Conan the Barbarian”. You’re a cop stuck in a classroom full of kindergartners, Danny DeVito’s twins, and the former governor of California (and that last one isn’t even fictional). You are a big man, 75 years old. You’ve had a long career in Hollywood and politics. People don’t need your last name to know who you are – just an “Arnold”.
So knowing all this, I have to ask: what were you thinking with your dastardly Netflix series? “Fuber” (Streaming Now, ★ out of four) What if we asked artificial intelligence to write an Arnold Schwarzenegger show, but in the worst possible way. The series is all cliche, followed by painful spasms and then dumbfounded confusion. Humans are talking, but I don’t think humans wrote the dialogue.
No matter how much Netflix paid you for this, it wasn’t worth it.
Created by Nick Santora (“Reacher”), the harrowing “Fuber” follows retired CIA agent Luke Bruner (Schwarzenegger), who returns to the service to help out a fellow agent. Hunt? That other agent is Luke’s daughter, Emma (Monica Barbaro), and he doesn’t know it until he runs into her in the field – while they’re both working undercover.
This is meant to pass for humor after Luke and Emma attempt to make things work, despite Luke and Emma’s deep resentment towards their father’s absence during their childhood and Luke’s complete misunderstanding of his daughter. But don’t worry, the CIA has figured out how to fix it: Luke and Emma are forced into therapy sessions together. with puppets.
A few other characters/running stereotypes populate the series. A tech guy (Milan Carter), other agents (Travis Van Winkle and Fortune Feimster), Luke’s ex-wife and Emma’s mother (Fabiana Udenio) and Emma’s nervous and soft-spoken boyfriend (Jay Baruchel, and I’d like to ask if she what is doing in it).
Let’s just say for a second that I could make the necessary intuitive leap to believe that the CIA would allow a father and daughter to go on a mission together, let alone force them to attend therapy sessions. Do it What’s even remotely attractive about that story? Is it the jokes they make about Luke pretending to sleep with his own daughter on a mission as a cover story? Is it watching a former screen titan fight over a bad office chair? Is it for “comedy” that Feimster and Van Winkle are trying to inject with their slapstick roles? Is it to watch yawn-worthy action sequences that are bad, but not so bad that they’re good?
Take back the worst parts of “Fuber” and you’ll find that all are bad parts. Barbaro, a scene-stealer in “Top Gun: Maverick,” is reduced to a raunchy punchline. Schwarzenegger (or rather, his stunt double) limps through his robberies and fights and delivers line readings on self-parody. And every 45-minute episode feels like it’s never going to end.
It shouldn’t have happened like this. From Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie” on Netflix) to Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren (“1923” on Paramount+), other icons of 20th-century cinema have gone on to make great television in recent years . But for every gem like Steve Martin and Martin Short in Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” we also get a dud like Sylvester Stallone’s Paramount+ series, “Tulsa King.” (At least “Tulsa” had some good jokes.)
The title of the series is a profane acronym suggesting that something is broken without hope of repair. All this is very appropriate in this case. “Fuber” sounds like Schwarzenegger messed up beyond all recognition.