Chivalry Review | Steve Coogan & Sarah Solemani Charm in This Wicked Comedy


Summary

  • Chivalry
    is a hilarious comedy with a biting take on Hollywood executives and clueless actors.
  • Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani shine in the show, perfectly sparring in a way that sheds light on the current issues in the film and television industry.
  • Sienna Miller’s performance nearly steals the show in this clever, candid, and raunchy comedy series.



In a vast sea of countless steaming possibilities, maybe it’s best to take a detour and float down another creative river. That’s the idea behind The Network, a new platform that aims to declutter the streaming experience, which in this case, translates into less scrolling and searching for content. How it works: the streamer will release two compelling originals at a time, comedies on Tuesdays and dramas on Thursdays. Easy enough. We began with the drama series, The Green Veil, headlined by John Leguizamo (The Menu, Moulin Rouge). And now, Chivalry fits nicely into its comedy offerings.


It’s a must-see outing, in fact, thoroughly engaging, and fueled with perfect comedic distinction by Steve Coogan (Philomena, Alan Partridge, The Trip) and Sarah Solemani (Bridget Jones’ Baby, Bad Education). If you recall the joy of tuning into HBO’s Episodes, and watching Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan endure Hollywood bureaucracy, you’ll appreciate what Chivalry serves up. Showbiz brouhaha abounds here, but instead of the likes of Matt LeBlanc’s character to confront weekly in Episodes, it’s the soured social mores that permeate the culture.

Wanda Sykes and Sienna Miller costar in a show that was originally greenlit by Channel 4 in the UK and produced by Baby Cow Productions. Chivalry is timely, fresh, and funny, and worthy of investment.


A Post-MeToo Comedy with Bite

Chivalry

4.5/5

Release Date
May 19, 2022

Seasons
1

Writers
Sarah Solemani & Steve Coogan

Streaming Service(s)
The Network

Directors
Marta Cunningham

Pros

  • Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani make a perfect pair, and the supporting cast is great.
  • A very funny and timely look at the film industry in the 2020s.


Chivalry is a #MeToo era comedy that keeps its creative feet fabulously grounded. It’s an outing that delightfully skewers clueless, predominantly white male executives and industry types, who, like hungry raccoons, suddenly find themselves trapped by their own ignorance. The series finds a critically acclaimed female director, Bobby (Solemani), brought into course-correct an ill-fated production run by a seasoned male producer, Cameron (Coogan).

The first two episodes of Chivalry, created by filmmaker Aram Rappaport (Syrup, John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons), set up the fabulous pace and tone. Sharply written by Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani, Marta Cunningham (Grace and Frankie) directs all six episodes. Bobby is on a career high, coming off her hit film, Mother of God. She’s brought in to creatively tinker with a production plagued by divisiveness. Apparently, several intimate scenes were found to be offensive, but Pierre (Djilali Rez-Kallah), the old-school Euro director who steered the endeavor, is troubled by all the fuss.


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Sarah Solemani Spars with Steve Coogan

A startling turn of events brings Bobby further into the fold, although she’s not entirely too pleased by it. She isn’t a big fan of Cameron’s, either — Coogan’s character is fresh off a breakup with a twentysomething. What fun it is to watch this all play out. Cameron, for his part, appears to be a man who suddenly woke up to the fact the world, and the movie industry, has changed around him. He may still be a prominent producer, but he hardly has the leverage he once had. In that regard, he walks around a bit timid amidst a growing sea of confident women who aren’t afraid to push back.


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Bobby certainly doesn’t shy away from doing that, and it’s here we’re reminded of Sarah Solemani’s brilliance. She lends Bobby a kind of enlightenment. This is a woman who has been through battle — in this case, male-dominated Hollywood — and emerged on the other side acutely aware that there’s still a bevy of privileged white males she must find patience with. The banter between Coogan and Solemani is great fun, giving this series a lot of pep, and leading to episodic conclusions that leave you wanting more. It also allows you to speculate as to how this working relationship may evolve.

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Sienna Miller Steals the Show

Scene stealers and candid dialogue abound in Chivalry. Sienna Miller rises to the top in that category. Playing movie star Lark, she’s self-aware, too. And fierce. Perhaps exhausted by all the behind-the-scenes drama. One of the funniest scenes involves an intimacy coordinator who is brought in to oversee a reshoot of a significant love scene. Bobby never felt the scene landed well and in the redux, Lark’s character is afforded more ownership of her sexuality. All this for a Nazi period drama.

The humor here is divine. When Richard Fleeshman emerges as Patrick, playing a buffed out blond beefcake stand-in whose buttocks and shirtless torso will suffice for the scene, the highlighted blond wants to “understand” why his counterpart in the scene would say the thing she’s saying. To which an exasperated Sienna Miller finally shoots back: “I say it because it is in the script. I say it because I am paid as a monkey to jump for bananas. Can we just f***ing shoot it so that I can fake my orgasm, which I have been practicing, right?”


Ah, the wit of European television. It all plays out quite nicely here, and offers audiences a stellar new duo (Coogan and Solemani) to become invested in. Solemani, particularly, is sublime and Coogan, in a more reserved yet believable performance, reminds us why he is one of the finest actors around. Between its candid dialogue, subversive humor, and illuminating references — female genitalia has never been so uniquely unpacked quite like it is here, much to the shock of nearby men — Chivalry is often engaging, brilliant, and altogether magical.

Watch Chivalry on all devices, from Apple, Android, and Roku to Amazon Fire and other web-based devices.



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