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‘Lisa Frankenstein’ Is the Death Knell for PG-13 Comedies

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Focus Features
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Focus Features

There are roughly 47,000—oh, wait, a new Netflix Original just dropped; make that 47,001—TV shows and movies coming out each week. At Obsessed, we consider it our social duty to help you see the best and skip the rest.

We’ve already got a variety of in-depth, exclusive coverage on all of your streaming favorites and new releases, but sometimes what you’re looking for is a simple Do or Don’t. That’s why we created See/Skip, to tell you exactly what our writers think you should See and what you can Skip from the past week’s crowded entertainment landscape.

Skip: Lisa Frankenstein

Lisa Frankenstein is so remarkably lifeless that even a mad scientist couldn’t bring it back to life. Though Diablo Cody’s screenplay has some laughs, the film about a high school girl and her reanimated boyfriend isn’t punchy—or raunchy—enough to rise from the dead.

Here’s Coleman Spilde’s take:

“Watching Lisa Frankenstein—the new horror-comedy from screenwriter Diablo Cody and first-time director Zelda Williams (in theaters Feb. 9)—is akin to getting caught up in a chicken-or-the-egg situation: Which came first, the idea for this ’80s-inspired monster romance, or the pun in its title?

‘Lisa Frankenstein’ Is Mary Shelley’s Unholy Child With the Color Neon

By how staunchly the movie clings to its collage of nostalgic iconography, I’d say it was the latter. The film’s title is a cheeky take on Lisa Frank, known for her signature neon-colored landscapes and doe-eyed animals, and Frankenstein, whose creation was a little less…vibrant. The portmanteau reflects the film’s design palette, with its lush hues, teased hair, and sallow reanimated monster skulking around the frame in a Violent Femmes t-shirt. But the era-specific visual aesthetic only underlines how markedly out of step the film is by contrast.”

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See: The Taste of Things

In The Taste of Things, sensuality is very much on the menu when two chefs cross paths in 1885. This love story is a sumptuous feast for the senses, as carefully prepared as a tender rack of lamb and as delicate as a soufflé. You won’t be left hungry, just a little thirsty.

Photo still of Benoît Magimel in The Taste of Things

Benoît Magimel in The Taste of Things.

Stéphanie Branchu

Here’s Nick Schager’s take:

“Twenty years ago, Harvey Weinstein would have turned The Taste of Things into the talk of the awards season and another Oscar night triumph for Miramax. With the disgraced mogul long gone, however, Trần Anh Hùng’s film will have to content itself with being one of last year’s standouts, as well as a must-see import when it finally receives a U.S. theatrical release this Friday, Feb. 9. Featuring a luminous Juliette Binoche and equally masterful Benoît Magimel as 1885 chefs bonded by intertwined passions, it’s a sumptuous period-piece celebration of sensory delights—both culinary and otherwise—infused with all manner of complex, intoxicating flavors.

‘The Taste of Things’: Food in Film Has Never Been So Sensual

In a private garden at dawn, Eugénie (Binoche) and others harvest vegetables and bring them into an open kitchen that’s well-stocked but far from cluttered. There, she and her young assistant Violette (Galatea Bellugi) get to work preparing a breakfast for themselves and Dodin (Magimel), a famed restaurateur and the master of the house, whom we’ll subsequently learn is affectionately known as ‘the Napoleon of Gastronomy’ and who’s collaborated with Eugénie for the past 20 years.”

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Skip: Tracker

Tracker should count its blessings that CBS execs tacked the series premiere onto the Super Bowl, otherwise, this drama would be lost entirely. Deservedly so: It’s a ho-hum, conventional show about a bounty hunter with a heart of gold. Maybe he can track our attention span dwindling

Photo still of Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw in Tracker.

Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw in Tracker.

Michael Courtney/CBS

Here’s Fletcher Peters’ take:

Tracker, which premiered on CBS Sunday evening following the Super Bowl, begins with Colter Shaw (Justin Hartley) reminding us of the fact that all of the lost people he finds will live, even if they’re suffering through grave illnesses or near-fatal injuries. Thanks to his off-the-grid upbringing, Colter has the ability to find nearly any missing person and rescue them from danger. The only thing Colter can’t save? His own show, which continually struggles to stay afloat.

Justin Hartley’s Abs Are the Only Good Part of Post-Super Bowl ‘Tracker’

Colter calls himself a ‘rewardist.’ He seeks the prize money from missing persons cases in the western part of the country. Deeming himself a lone wolf, Colton works on his own terms—the reward becomes legally binding, he argues, as soon as he’s found the person. He’s willing to break the law to find these people and cash in on those huge sums. But… is a $20,000 prize really worth it when you constantly have to pay bail, travel money, and other living costs? At that point, a job with law enforcement seems like a better opportunity.”

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See: Upgraded

Upgraded is a sweet, uncomplicated riff on the Devil Wears Prada formula, with Camilla Mendes and Marisa Tomei subbing in for Hathaway and Streep. If you think an upgrade to first class is all Biscoff cookies and vacuum-sealed blankets, think again.

Photo still of Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux in Upgraded.

Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux in Upgraded.

Paul Stephenson/Amazon Studios

Here’s Laura Bradley’s take:

“From the trailer alone, it’s clear that Camila Mendes’ new romcom, Upgraded, is basically a Gen-Z play on The Devil Wears Prada. In place of Anne Hathaway’s put-upon fashion assistant, Andy, this Amazon Prime Video offering casts Mendes as a beleaguered aspiring gallery owner named Ana—who also works as an assistant to a mercurial boss in the hopes of securing her coveted recommendation. Marisa Tomei puts on a strange, vaguely European accent to play our new boss from hell, Claire Dupont, and from there, it’s off to the races.

‘Upgraded’ Review: Camila Mendes Gets Her Own ‘Devil Wears Prada’

As familiar as each and every beat in Upgraded might be, Mendes remains as charming as ever. When she gets upgraded to first class on a business trip with her abusive bosses and pockets the little glass salt and pepper shakers for no real reason at all, the mischievous grin on her face will instantly make you want to be her friend. It’s no wonder that her neighbor on the flight, a wealthy Brit boy named William (Archie Renaux), is instantly enamored—even after she spills a Bloody Mary down his cream-colored suede slacks.”

Read more.

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