In order to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary, millennial couple Emma and Noah take a trip to the Yucatán peninsula, where they stay at an all-inclusive resort. While Noah appears fully content with their life and relationship, his wife feels restless. During a guided ATV excursion, Emma comes across an old flip phone in the jungle. When she finds out that it belonged to a teenager, who went missing fifteen years ago, a venture into amateur sleuthing promises the thrill and excitement she longs for.
Created by Mr Robot showrunner Sam Esmail and headed by Andy Siara (Palm Springs), The Resort transcends genre and expectations thereof. What starts out tonally as a romantic comedy paired with a dash of mystery shifts course halfway through the series and turns into a meditative reflection on time and change. While this unpredictability is one of the things The Resort has going for it, the series thereby risks missing its target audience. Viewers open to philosophical meandering will likely dismiss the show based on the formulaic pilot, whereas people who tuned in for a laugh at American tourists out of their comfort zone may feel alienated by the ethereal elements introduced in later episodes.
With Cristin Milioti, William Jackson Harper and Skyler Gisondo, the main cast is comprised of some of the hottest names currently working in comedic television – guest appearances include Debby Ryan, Nick Offerman and Dylan Baker – yet it is the humour where The Resort falls flat. Jokes based on anxious rambling, over-sharing and awkward repetition of words like “penis” have been done too many times for them to work, alongside pacing issues of the individual episodes.
A number of parallels can be drawn to M Night Shyamalan’s critically unfavoured Old. Despite the rich visuals of the tropic forests of Central America, much of The Resort’s plot relies on heavy exposition and unfortunately proves that gifted actors are not necessarily captivating storytellers by default.
If one can see past these hiccups, the Peacock Original series has a beautiful absurdity to offer, sprinkled with Heidegger-esque musings on presence and time.
The Resort is available on Peacock exclusively on Sky and NOW on 29th July 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Resort here: